I joined the Green Party in December, part of the famous ‘Green surge’. I’d been vaguely interested in the Greens previously, but had never gotten round to doing anything about it. Always firmly left-leaning, it was social policies rather than the (admittedly extremely important) environmental ones that were most important to me. I spent a lot of my time very angry with what the Tories and Labour were doing to the country: mass privatisation, destruction of the NHS, regression of the educational system to that of the 1950s... the list goes on and on. So with a bit of time to spare before Christmas, I sat down with my laptop and looked at the Green’s policy website. And was very pleasantly surprised.
Although I didn’t agree with every word, I agreed with an awful lot. But what struck me most was that these policies were well thought through ideas, formulated by people who had a vision for a better world, a world that would work for everyone in it rather than just the privileged few. I filled in the membership form without hesitation.
I then went along to a Green party meeting. I’ll admit I was unsure of what to expect: being new to the area I didn’t really know what the Greens had been up to locally, and I didn’t know what the mix of people would be. There was even a small part of me wondering if it would be a room full of well-meaning folk with a vague longing for a better system but with no solid ideas to implement. Luckily, the opposite was the case: a large group of smart, engaged, impressive people, achieving lots on various councils and with solid plans to do even more. In other words, exactly the kind of people we need running things both locally and at a national level.
Another thing that struck me was just how friendly everyone was. Each new member got a round of applause as they introduced themselves: I’ve certainly never been congratulated for simply turning up to a meeting before! More established members went out of their way to speak to us newcomers and make us feel welcome. There was an instant sense of community, and as I’ve become more involved, that feeling has only deepened. To anyone considering attending a meeting, but unsure if they should, I would say: ‘Just do it!’ Even if you don’t end up becoming a more active member, you’ll learn a great deal and meet a whole bunch of lovely people, and that can only be a good thing.