Henry Gemmell

A not-so-controversial opinion: Ariana Grande’s thank u, next is a bop.

In her song, she reflects on how her experiences with her exes developed her as a person. As a Labour-member-turned-Green, I can relate.

I was inspired by my university’s politically active LGBT+ society to join Corbyn’s Labour Party in 2017 once I ventured out into the wide, wide world, post-graduation. In my hometown of Glossop, I joined the local Labour Club. I regularly attended their meetings and quickly put myself forward for officer positions, since I felt so passionate to drive the people-focused, positive change that Corbyn was pushing for. In various decisions, we remained steadfast in our socialism against the more moderate constituency Labour Party. I developed a strong sense of community, which evolved from how I helped to campaign for local causes like petitioning against the closure of our hospital. I look back on this time with a warm sense of nostalgia, even though I left Labour due to its disappointing handling of antisemitism.

The Young Greens feels very much like a socialist group. The roster of this year’s candidates is full of socialist-leaning individuals, which promises a leftist direction for 2021-22. Already, its campaign work covers issues like why the Policing Bill must go and why the student rent strikes of this past year should be praised.

I believe there are various relevant social issues that the Young Greens can campaign about from 2021 onwards. These social issues are the backbone of my policies, including:

I will fight for a ban on single-use plastics – I will campaign for the ban of single-use plastic, which contributes up to 1.5 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases. Moreover, I will campaign for biodegradable plastic alternatives like the soy- and starch-based kinds that would, for instance, accommodate those who still need plastic for accessibility purposes (e.g. plastic straws for disabled people).

I will fight for disabled people to have better access to jobs – I will fight for the choice to work from home as a completely acceptable alternative. Many disabled people find the commute to work difficult, but they are still able to bring their passion and skills to carrying out a job. We have seen in the past year that people are still able to work if that work is accommodated for their circumstances that cannot be helped. Working from home must always be available as an option for employees.

I will fight for the safeguarding of sex workers in society – I will support the decriminalisation of sex work in society while still pushing for prosecution of human trafficking and other sexual abuse crimes. Decriminalisation would remove criminal laws surrounding sex work while still maintaining laws that target human trafficking, sex abuse rings and underage prostitution. Importantly, I will celebrate and encourage the growth of trade unions formed by sex workers.

More details on my other policies and who I am can be found in my manifesto.

Originating as the party of trade unions, the Labour Party is now failing to meaningfully challenge the government on social and environmental issues. The Green Party must step up and step in. We as the Young Greens – the section populated by the future generation – must steer this. Employing old Young Green policies and the ideas of other members and mine, I hope to help lead the way as your next Co-Chair.

If you have any questions, reach out to me on Twitter.

This article is part of a series from candidates standing in this year’s elections to the Young Greens of England and Wales Executive Committee. You can find all the articles in the series here. Voting is open in the Young Greens elections from July 3 to July 18. 

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