Tim Farron announced yesterday that there are now over 100000 members in our party. And what we see nationally, is also true in our District. At the start of the year we had well below 200 members, we now have over 300 members
One of our new members is Ethan Stone. On 18th April Ethan contacted Ste Greenall (District Secretary) and said “I would like to know what I can do to become a more active member of the party.” Very quickly, Ethan, along with his partner, Ellie, agreed to get out onto the streets to deliver his first leaflets.
After completing his first delivery Ethan sent the following message to Ste
Ste is very impressed with Ethan’s, and his partner Ellie’s drive and enthusiasm. It’s a fantastic example of how ANY member - old or new - can get involved and feel part of the party’s activities.
Ste asked Ethan to tell us his story, as he thought others would be interested, so here it is.
Ethan is 23 years old and originally from the London borough of Hillingdon in West London. He first moved to St. Neots in October 2011 to live with his father. After meeting his partner, Ellie, in 2013, they moved in together in St. Neots in early 2014 and then to Huntingdon in February 2016, as Ellie had grown up there.
Ethan explained "I moved up to Cambridgeshire not long after the London riots occurred in August 2011. The riots were obviously quite a low point for London. Locally to where I lived, in Hillingdon, there was a lot of trouble, which really brought it home. Hillingdon wasn’t actually directly affected by the riots; this was primarily due to the people in Southall: lead by the Sikh community protecting their area and Gurdwaras. I gained a lot of respect for them that day and it really helped me understand what a community can do when they come together with a common goal."
Ste was curious to know what had happened to engage Ethan’s interest in politics.
“Well, back when I was 18, not long after I moved up to St. Neots, I registered to vote” Ethan said. “ But at that point I didn’t really know where I lay on the political spectrum. However, Hillingdon has two main constituencies and as I grew up I had become more and more politically aware.
Hayes and Harlington was one of the constituencies. This, to my knowledge has long been a Labour stronghold; and is held by the now Shadow Chancellor John McDonald. I never really had an opinion on the man growing up, other than a brief memory of a school trip he took my school on to the Houses of Parliament. However I do remember being fascinated by the place.
The second constituency is Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Created in 2010) It was and, I believe, still is a strong Conservative seat, previously held by John Randell and now held by ‘bumbling’ Boris Johnson, who was “parachuted” in during his tenure as London Mayor in the 2015 General Election. ‘Parachuting’, I believe, is one of the many things wrong with politics: placing politicians into safe seats to guarantee their place in parliament is wrong in my eyes, especially when they have no history living in the area. Speaking to people who I know that still live in the contituency, they have said that they don’t feel represented by him, he has been a prominent campaigner for the third runway which will affect people massively in the area.
I realise at this point you may be asking yourself, why does all that matter? Well, growing up in two areas which were both Labour and Conservative, I got to understand how they worked, saw the effects on the areas, and heard peoples opinions of both parties. My decision to choose the Lib Dems as my ‘political home’ resulted from taking the https://voteforpolicies.org.uk/ survey which lets you choose policies which you agree with, but not telling you which party holds that view. After answering the question, it gives you a breakdown of which party you most agree with on a percentage basis. It told me I was overwhelmingly aligned with The Liberal Democrats.
From that point onwards I started reading up on the party, finding out about its MP’s and the leader; who at the time was Nick Clegg.
Moving forward to last year, after voting Remain in the EU referendum, waking up to find that we had voted to ‘Leave’. I knew now was the time to get involved, I joined the party on the 1st July 2016. One week after finding out that we were due to leave the EU and we were going to be led by this Conservative government, I felt passionately that I would do anything I could to get my voice heard and let people know that we don’t have to ‘roll over’ and watch as the Tories drag the rest of us that didn’t vote leave off the cliff into the unknown; blindly following the Tory ideology.
Fast forward nearly a year, to the announcement on Tuesday 18th April. Theresa May announces a snap election, even though she had vehemently denied she would call one. That evening I sent an e-mail to Ste Greenall saying that I would like to become a more active member of the party. He replied 3 minutes later asking to talk by phone.
3 days later, here I am writing this piece; having delivered my first ever set of leaflets on Wednesday evening with my best friend and partner Ellie: all just over 24 hours after originally e-mailing Ste. I am due to go out again tonight and deliver more and I can’t wait to get more and more involved; spreading the message that there is another choice!
We don’t have to just follow this course that the Conservatives want us to, we don’t have to leave the single market, we don’t have to just roll over and not have our voice heard!
Ste asked Ethan, who had inspired him?
Ethan said "If I were to pick anyone, it would probably be between Nick Clegg and the late Charles Kennedy. Both of whom have led the Liberal Democrats and I believe were and are two principled politicians. Which to me, is a major characteristic that any politician should have, but unfortunately a lot don’t!”
So Ste asks; having been out delivering on streets you hardly knew, what are your hopes for the coming elections?
Ethan said "My hopes are that we can get as many people who agree with what we stand for to vote for us. I hope that we can sway the undecided voters and convince those that don’t normally vote, but want a change in direction of government, a fairer society and a strong fairer economy, that they can vote for someone and if they vote for the Lib Dems we will try and deliver just that both locally and nationally!"
So, has Ethan’s story inspired you to get more involved? You know where we are. Join the Fight Back today.