The numbers are amazing. In Yorkshire, Young Green membership topped 900, with Sheffield claiming over 200 of that. But, numbers are only half of the story. The new membership influx is not merely filling gaps, waiting to be directed, Young Greens are taking leading positions within the party. Green politics has always been politics of the future and our party is living out that belief.
This hasn’t come about in a vacuum. In the last twelve months the two and a half party system that has dominated UK politics for nearly 20 years has fractured into a rainbow of choice.
2014 was a massive year and 2015 promises even more. For the first time the generation caught in ‘Cleggmania’, who discovered that like a night on cheap vodka the hangover is always more painful than the euphoria of the moment, will be given a chance to decide on the direction the UK will take. For many students saddled with £30,000 and more debts this year will be their first opportunity to vote nationally. 2015 can be the year that it is made clear that austerity affects those least able to protect themselves and that is not the society that we want to live in.
However, this means that there is a lot to be done. Changes to our voter registrations means that tens of thousands who have the most to benefit from a voice could be disenfranchised. The irony of charging £30,000 for a University degree that won’t educate the student to register to vote in time is not lost on this Young Green.
Between now and April voter registration will be the top priority for the Sheffield Young Greens. It will mean reaching students across the city in a way that has never been done before.
More than reaching people there remains a second part to this campaign. The Green Party is for everybody and it remains the clear Party of the future. This year our message to the generation, which will suffer some of the worst effects of current government policies, is that: the only wasted vote is that one for a party that you don’t believe in.
If you want to be more involved then get in touch with Aodan at Sheffield@younggreens.org.uk