A late to the party 2017 review. Was thinking hard of what to say hence the lateness of this.
Firstly I hope everyone had a great New Years Eve. Like last year, i spent it with my best mate and my brother playing card games and going up pole hill in Chingford to watch the fireworks at midnight. Didn't get to bed till 5 this morning and had a great evening.
In terms of 2017, a fair bit has happened to me. As ever with me the personal and political are quite interchangeable so apologies for those non-politically minded friends reading this.
The year started off fairly quiet for me up until about March when I went to the Global Greens Congress in Liverpool which was really inspiring as I met fellow Green Party members around the world.
Of course we had the snap general election which was a surprise for us all. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I was unable to get involved much with campaigning. However I did manage to get down to Bristol to help out Molly Scot Cato's campaign there. That was a really enjoyable weekend and it was a really exciting campaign to be part as there seemed to be a really good chance the Green Party would get a second MP elected. Sadly this didn't prove to be the case in the end.
I was proud to play my part in forming an electoral alliance locally with a Labour MP in order to push for a fairer voting system. Even if the national strategy was a bit all over the place, I am really proud of fellow Greens throughout the UK putting country before party political gain in order to push for a fairer voting system and to stop the Tories getting a big majority in the election. And it worked. There was surprisingly a hung parliament and we played our part in making that happen. We may have lost a lot of votes but we kept Caroline Lucas in parliament with an increased majority and gained a lot of respect from people outside the party. To my friends in the Labour Party that will read this, I hope you acknowledge the part us Greens played in helping stop the Tories from getting a majority of seats.
The reason I was sadly unable to help as much as I'd like in the general election campaign is that I had a really good holiday visiting my brother in Vietnam. Even though I've personally been there before, It was great experiencing the food and culture again with Joel and doing new things like rowing down the Mekong Delta. It was a much needed holiday and one that I will certainly remember.
Back to politics, this is not something I admitted to many people but I did briefly after the general election result really consider my position in the Green Party and whether it was best to pursue my activism somewhere else. However, after getting some really good advice, I decided to stick it out in the Greens as I still believe we offer the best long-term solutions for the country despite the Labour Party becoming more progressive with what they were offering. I also believe that the local Labour Council have made many mistakes and need to be held to account.
This brings me personally to the last few months of 2017 which have been a lot busier for me . After the summer of soul searching, my passion for Green politics has been reignited and I've started to lead a really exciting and productive local election campaign for next year's local elections and just want to thank everyone that has helped, whether financially, doing data entry, coming up with ideas for campaigns, leafleting, canvassing, running stalls. You've all been great.
Unfortunately given the amount of time and energy this is taking, I have had to give up my role on the Green Party Trade Union Group as well as leaving my Trade Union Unite. Although i do still wholeheartedly support the Trade Union movement, I have to prioritise this really important election coming up. I wish my friends and colleagues in the Trade Union movement good luck in continuing the fight and to improve workers rights and will do what I can to help with this.
Of course I can't really ignore the bigger picture of what has happened in this last year. In his first year as President, Trump has almost started a war with North Korea, had corruption, resignations and scandals in his administration. He has been trying to ban Muslims from coming to America, albeit with some inspiring resistance to this and of course who can forget his personal war on media outlets that criticise him like CNN. He even suggested revoking their licences to run as outlets. That is frightening that he is trying to silence criticism of him. He has also consistently denied global warming, has done nothing to stop the ever increasing gun violence in the US, pushed through tax cuts for the wealthiest and happily retweeted and apologised for fascists in his own country as well as the UK.
We've also had an ongoing refugee crisis worldwide, genocide in Myanmar and somewhat violent political upheaval in Venezuela as well as the crisis between Catalan and the rest of Spain and many other things happening around the world. We mustn't forget our fellow citizens worldwide that are suffering in these countries.
We have also seen a sexual abuse scandal with hollywood celebrities and UK politicians but the widespread condemnation and bravery of the victims speaking out is hopefully going to change things.
The good news worldwide is that there is fightback against fascism. Whether it is the worldwide protests against Trump, or the rise of the far-right in France and Holland being halted.
Back in the UK we had the disaster of the fire in Grenfell tower. A block of flats that was neglected for years and shows the contempt politicians have for the poorest in our society where they refuse to make homes fit for human habitation. The response from people in the community trying to fight for justice for those who suffered at Grenfell has been inspiring to see so hopefully we will see justice and homes across the UK made safer to stop this happening again.
In other developments for the UK this year, the Brexit negotiations seem to be all over the place, although there has been some small progress. There is still a long way to go but it is good that MPs will lawfully have the final say over the Brexit deal.
Sadly homelessness has been steadily rising in the UK and the NHS and other public services continue to suffer the unnecessary austerity being imposed on them. However the general election result earlier this year shows that maybe there is some hope of a better future for all of us and it is possible that we could well have a change of government by the end of 2018. Watch this space.
Also Despite what UK and US government's lack of action on Climate Change and the affects of Climate Change becoming more prevalent this year, we have seen a rise in renewable energy use in the UK as well as countries like China taking much more serious action.
There is probably a lot I have missed out but I am hoping that things will get better in 2018 worldwide, in the UK and personally and I just want to thank everyone that supported me this year whether you are friends or family.
On a personal level this coming year I am going to be working hard for a good result in the local elections in May, maybe even getting elected as a councillor myself. I am also excited about the prospect of having another nephew. I aim to progress professionally with my career, properly learn another language, hopefully go on holiday to Germany this year and just in general continue political activism to help make the world a better place locally, nationally and worldwide.
Also just on a more light-hearted note, I am genuinely excited at the prospect of a female Doctor Who despite the man-babies crying over it. I'm gutted that we are going to wait until September for the first episode of the new Doctor Who era.
Anyway onwards and upwards. Fingers crossed for a great 2018 for all of us.