Between the 3rd and the 18th of July, the elections for the new Young Green Executives will take place in England. The Young Green Party of England and Wales (YGEW) is the official youth branch of the Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW). Over the years, the YGEW has encouraged the formation of young, active youth in British politics today such as Lucy Pegg and Magid Magid. “Being in the Young Greens has been hugely influential for me, said Lucy Pegg to Global Green News. It’s probably why I have ended up being so involved in politics and activism in my day job and outside of it today”.
The radical youth of the GPEW:
The YGEW describe their ideology as the more radical side of the Green Party of England and Wales. They are described as an inviting and friendly community of like-minded people that push to topple the neoliberal capitalist order like one of its running candidate. The YGEW can be seen as the more radical side of the GPEW. “Young Greens have a duty”, said Frank Adlington-Stringer to Global Green News, a running candidate in this year’s election. “A duty to push Green Parties, not just in England and Wales but across the world, to be better. To challenge both the perceptions of the prevailing system and the policies of the Greens. The future is ours and therefore it is crucial that young people make their radical, creative, new and fresh ideas heard”.
Youth involvement in Politics deemed crucial:
This branch of the GPEW enables youth to get involved in politics, and in some cases before the legal voting age. Young people tend to be set on the side of politics, but their involvement is crucial according to Adlington-Stringer, for two reasons: their prominent place in the future of our societies and their creativity. “Young people are the future, it should be theirs to shape, and young people have creative ideas. Many of the people making decisions have been battered into submission by the system. They are products of it and their thinking is stuck within its boundaries. Young people push those limits with new ideas,” declared Adlington-Stringer to Global Green News.
“It’s vital that those in power listen to the youth of today, he added. Politics, as it stands, is stagnant and self-serving ; it fails to challenge and it maintains the status quo. Young people challenge that and seek better and they should be listened to. It is only together that we, young and old of a variety of backgrounds, can create something better”.
Lucy Pegg, Green Party councillor for Donnington ward on Oxford City Council and member of the YGEW, stated the importance of youth involvement in politics especially on the topic of climate change to Global Green News. “Young people need to be involved in politics because so often we’re the ones with bold and ambitious answers the big questions we face today. We recognize that urgent and radical action is needed, right now, to tackle the climate crisis, whilst many older people are happy to leave these hard decisions to someone else thinking they’ll never see the worst of climate change.” She added on the importance of youth involvement in politics especially considering current British prime minister Boris Johnson’s neglect during the pandemic.
“Boris Johnson’s response to the pandemic disregarded students whose courses were thrown into disarray, young people living out of one room in a cramped house share, and the thousands of young people of zero hours contracts or employed in retail and hospitality, said Pegg to Global Green News. We’ve got to have a bigger presence at the decision-making table and force politicians to listen to us.”
The impact of COVID-19:
The pandemic had a big impact on society and politics around the world, and it has also largely impacted youth politics, preventing many campaign possibilities and interactions. “Politics are designed to keep young people out”, according to Lewis-Creser, but with the development of remote working, the pandemic has expanded the scope of youth integration in politics with access to reunions and video recordings online.
Two positive aspects have come out of this crisis, explained Adlington-Stringer to Global Green News. Firstly, it has allowed wider participation and greater access to politics and activism through the use of technology. “People had more time to get involved, with the removed barriers of transport, affordability, anxiety, and other factors”. Secondly, it brought many issues to light. “I have definitely noticed greater awareness in my community, with a renewed sense of action for tackling social issues. Especially for young people, there is a sense of building back better and making sure that our future is better. My local Green Party now has more young members than ever before and we are now in the process of setting up a Derbyshire Young Greens”.
A political new wave?
In recent years, we have noticed the arrival of new forms of political participation; youth get involved in associations, protest, go on humanitarian missions and are more vocal on social media, and are moving away from more traditional politics. Pegg explained to Global Green News that the YGEW are “emblematic of the new kind of politics”, but not simply because of their different involvement. “So many joined the Green Party because we were tired and frustrated with the traditional political parties. Young people are often expected to be Labour voters, so even just the choice to be a Green shows how the conventional two-party political system is crumbling”. This new wave of politics will evolve over the years, and Global Green News is exited to see where this youth leads us.