In the wake of the 2018 English local elections, we have seen unprecedented Green successes across the country. According to the media, this was not supposed to happen.
I mention this success not to pretend that the Green Party does not have difficult challenges lying ahead; undeniably, the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn brings its difficulties for our party. But these elections prove the future of the Green Party and particularly the Young Greens is bright.
The Greens have a unique vision of democratic localism, liberal ecologism and an internationalist pro-European-Union, pro-immigration outlook that welcomes our neighbours instead of closing the door in their faces. Nonetheless, the Greens are changing. Gone are the perceptions of sandal- wearing 'tree-huggers' - we're an established party with all the professionalism that comes with it. Young Greens represent a movement of internationalist green socialism that, in the context of devastating and soon-to-be irreversible climate change, is proving itself hugely popular.
Our elected Young Greens, including the newly-elected Kai Taylor in Knowsley and Martin Phipps in Sheffield, both under the age of 25, are unique voices fighting for the young people they represent and the planet we all inhabit. Then there are Greens like the new Sheffield Lord Mayor, 28-year-old Cllr Magid Magid, a Somali refugee, and Green Deputy Leader Amelia Womack, first elected aged just 29, who are showing the establishment that we can, and will, do politics differently.
We don't hide behind political spin, but speak directly to the people, listening to those?who traditional politicians have failed to engage and inspire. We know that if you don't do politics, it will be done to you, and we will defend our planet and the most vulnerable in society, those who are unable to defend themselves.
Looking at the skills, passion, and drive within the Young Greens, it is hard not to feel optimistic. While we may not have won the argument yet, we will win the battle. Young Greens are the present and future of the Green Party, and the Green Party is the future of politics.
The Green Party has always been at the forefront of new and interesting ways to communicate with voters and particularly younger people. Our leadership and elected officials are often easily contactable on social media, and we talk directly with voters using platforms like Youtube.
Our party's branding is second to none and is easily recognisable, so much so that it has not been uncommon for other parties to copy it. We make great use of independent media organisations like Left Foot Forward, The Canary, and others that have typically younger audiences. But other parties are beginning to catch on. Both the Conservatives and Labour have seen our success and have realised that speaking to younger voters on their turf is no longer just an option, but something that is required to win. We need to make sure we stay ahead of the curve.
Knocking on people's doors six months before an election just doesn't cut it anymore. We know our policies are the best for young people, from affordable housing, to renters' rights, protection against discrimination for women, people with disabilities and LGBTIQA+ people, and our passionate fight against Brexit. Young people need to hear this and we can't rely on typical media either. To get our message across, we should advance beyond our typical comfort zones of Twitter and Facebook - we need to make sure we're reaching people on Instagram and Snapchat, with people-powered organic content. Whoever wins social media will win the hearts and minds of our young people, and we need to ensure that that continues to be the Greens.