YEP Says, February 18: Support for Ukip shows how big parties have failed

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...and Grand turnaround over race funding

WITH 77 days to go to the general election, the results of our survey asking YEP readers how they’re going to vote makes for intriguing reading.

Despite claims of widespread apathy, 86 per cent said they would definitely cast their vote.

But with only two-thirds sure of which party they will back, there are still plenty of votes up for grabs between now and May 7 – votes which will help to decide who takes up residence in Number 10.

And the split between the candidate readers would like to see become the country’s next Prime Minister shows just how close the race for Downing Street is likely to be.

But while David Cameron and Ed Miliband are hovering around the 30 per cent mark, the most striking statistic is that one in four of the city’s voters would like to see Ukip’s Nigel Farage take charge.

That in itself is an indictment of the two major parties and the extent to which ordinary people feel they have been let down by the policies of the last decade.

One thing’s for sure – the message to the parties is that it’s still all to play for in Leeds and traditional loyalties cannot be taken for granted. Voters will support the party that offers common sense policies on issues such as the NHS and immigration and, above all, appeals to their sense of fairness.

Grand turnaround over race funding

A YEAR ago, Leeds’s landmark hosting of the Tour de France’s Grand Départ was in jeopardy because of an impasse over Government funding. Annoyed that the state-approved bid by Edinburgh to secure the honour, Ministers threatened to withhold their £10m share of financial support.

This time, Whitehall seems quite happy to put its hand in its pockets to help with the marketing of the Tour de Yorkshire, as well as providing better cycling facilities around the region.

Welcome as the support is, not least in terms of securing a long-term cycling legacy for the region, it’s a pity such faith was not in evidence until after Yorkshire wowed the world with a Grand Départ that was dubbed the best in the race’s history.