Anyone who is a member of the Green Party of England and Wales and is either under 30 years old or is a student is automatically a member of the Young Greens of England and Wales. Every year the Young Greens host an annual convention. This year I'm delighted that this year the convention is coming to Manchester. It takes place this weekend (26th-27th October).
What's the role of the Young Greens? Well, there are various different important roles that the Young Greens play and could play for the Green Party. Firstly, to give young members a chance to meet other young people who share similar views. Most party members are over 30 so this is important for young members. Secondly, to ensure the interests of young people are considered throughout the party. Thirdly, to encourage and train young members to become important active members of the party. Fourthly, to promote and train the talents we have within our young members. Fifthly, to recruit more young adults to the party. Sixthly, to have a presence at students unions around the country. Seventhly, to persuade more young adults to vote for the Green Party. There are more things the Young Greens do and can do as well.
What happens at the convention? Young Greens used to hold their AGM at the Green Party's conference before they started having convention. Now they hold it at the convention and this gives a lot more time for official business of the AGM. This involves hustings for and electing the committee and other bodies of the Young Greens, motions to amend the Young Greens' constitution and other official documents and accepting the reports from members of the previous year's committee. There's also a lot of workshops at the convention on a range of topics, including some that are for the interest of non-students. Some are training workshops, and some are workshops that come up with proposals for what the Young Greens should be doing. At a workshop last year we decided to change the logo of the Young Greens. There sometimes are sessions on Green Party policy and what Young Greens thinks of them, and sometimes this has resulted in motions being put forward to the national Green Party conference to change policy or the rules of the party. There's always social activity as well, and a crash space for people with sleeping bags. Luckily I live in Manchester and therefore get to sleep in a bed for the first time! Hurray!!! I have even slept at a Young Greens crash space for a weekend without a sleeping bag before.
I think there is a lot of scope for the Young Greens to increase the activity of our young members. A lot of progress has been made over the last decade but there is still a lot more to be done. There are only 1 or 2 active regional Young Greens groups, and a huge amount of universities that do not have a Young Greens group running. This is why I am favouring Clifford Fleming for co-chair of Young Greens. Clifford has done a great job in getting both Manchester Young Greens and the regional Young Greens North up and running and active. This has been a great success and has increased active membership. Clifford has a real knowledge of why and how students vote (or do not vote) and I believe his input will be very useful for helping towards improving the student vote for next year's European elections. Clifford also has a good way of explaining party politics to people new to politics. I also think he'd do a good job on GPEx and it would make him a good activist for the party for a long time hopefully. He's used to winning elections with him being the campaigns officer for Manchester University Student's Union, having won an election to get that post. Please vote for him if you're attending or submitting a proxy vote.
I hope to see a lot of great Young Greens this weekend. Come say hi to me. If you want to know anything about Manchester while you're here, ask me as I'm local.