Alice Hooker-Stroud Responds to our Survey

What will you do to support the Wales Young Greens in their growth? 
Attend events, speak up for Wales Young Greens when they aren’t – or can’t be – present in a discussion within the party or at an event externally, always keep them in mind, keep in touch, and look for opportunities to help out or support in any way. Be seen publicly as a ‘young’ figure in politics, and direct new or potential young members their way. I would also add that some Wales Young Greens members are also members of Wales Green Party Council and have been candidates in various elections. I hope this is a signifier that we do relatively well as a party in making sure that young people feel comfortable and supported in taking on roles in the party and in politics. I’m sure there is more that we could do, but I think it helps youth membership and activity grow in and of itself – once people (both young and older) see that young people can take on a role, be a really valuable contributing member either in the Wales Green Party, or externally in wider politics, then more young people are likely to get involved and get active. I think that’s a massive barrier to some parties who keep younger members working their way up the ranks instead of trusting them, and supporting to bring their own unique skills and experience to the table.
Why is youth engagement important not only for Politics but for the Wales Green Party? 
I think the Wales Young Greens could teach the Wales Green Party a thing or two! They already have more bilingual provision on their website and social media, in their campaigns and the materials and merchandise they produce. We need to catch up! Structurally there are reasons for this – it’s more difficult to change things the larger the organisation you are part of, but I think Wales Young Greens, and young members have loads to offer – new ideas, perspectives, and a willingness to be a bit more adventurous and try out new ideas. I always find it energising being with Wales Green Party members, but our Young Greens bring that extra oomph. Young people are impacted by politics every day. It is vital that young voices are heard, and young people have prominent roles in politics now – not just as an investment for the future. It’s not just about engagement, it’s about empowerment. That’s why the Wales Green Party stands for the right to vote at the age of 16, and why Wales Young Greens determine their own priorities for campaigns, policy and issues. We can see from analysis of elections and the recent EU referendum that younger people think and vote differently. We have to make sure that politics fits around this, not wait until, or persuade young people to fit into politics as it is.
Have you already done something to support Wales Young Greens in any way? 
I was lucky enough in February to be invited to the Wales Young Greens inaugural AGM. It was great to meet some of the members, and touch base personally. I also really enjoyed being part of the Young Greens EU Referendum panel at Spring Conference, invited by the Wales Young Greens co-convenor at the time. We had some great discussion and then I ran some impromptu ‘spectrum lines’ (a really handy facilitation tool) to help identify which issues Young Greens felt were most important to them about staying in the EU. It was completely ad-hoc but I really enjoyed it, and I think everyone else did too! That’s what I love about Young Greens – energy, ingenuity, and the willingness to be spontaneous and try out new ideas. More recently I also pushed for Wales Young Greens to have a fringe event at the Wales Green Party AGM and National Gathering. I offered support in developing the session as well as inviting Ross Greer (member of the Scottish Greens, and Scotland’s youngest MSP) along. I saw how Ross inspired young members at the Irish Greens’ conference and hoped he would do the same in Wales.
Finally, why should the youth and student members of the Wales Green Party vote for you for Spokesperson / Deputy? 
I was named ‘one of the youngest party leaders’ last year, and have on various occasions since been called the ‘young leader’ or ‘fresh face’ in Welsh politics. After the leaders’ debates, Wales Online said: “If it wasn’t for her youth, you would never have guessed that the Wales Green Party leader is the new arrival of the Welsh political scene. Gracefully, she articulated thoughts more cautious politicians might censor.” I think some might see this as derisive or condescending labelling by the media, but I think it’s a plus. I frequently get asked for ID and the other night it instigated pub-wide uproar as no-one would believe me that I was 32. Despite the fact that look young, I am sadly too old to be classed as a Young Green. However, I would hope that younger people might identify better with me, and feel that I could represent their views and issues more easily – especially in comparison to other parties’ leaders.

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