In January, I stood and was elected as the Youth Co-op Committee East Midlands Representative. I stood because we need to get more young people involved with campaigning, and more young people standing for elections. On Saturday, we were able to support both those goals.

Over the weekend, we ran a Young Labour and Young Co-operative campaign day in Derby and Amber Valley, supporting two excellent young candidates. Both Joel and Phillip have been working hard to prove that young people can have an outsized say in elections: both are among the hardest working campaigners in these sets of local elections.

Starting off the session in Littleover outside the Insomnia café and Co-op in support of Labour & Co-operative candidate Philip Hutchinson, the dozen or so activists from across the East Midlands found significant support for Labour throughout the session. Thanks also to Leicester Young Labour and Labour Students for supporting this campaign day.

Littleover hasn’t been the easiest part of the world electorally for Labour in recent years as the Lib Dems convince the Labour voters to tactically vote for them, but there are clear signs that this is changing. We can be optimistic of taking a seat off the Lib Dems in the ward; Philip is demonstrating that Labour and Co-op councillor can be the hardworking, local representative they need. The Lib Dems have taken Littleover, and neighbouring ward Blagreaves for granted, with Councillors who have served for literally decades failing to deliver meaningful change for residents. The Lib Dems have also recently been propping up a failing Tory minority Council, reminiscent of the Lib/Con coalition which exposed the Lib Dems true colours for most of us.

Our afternoon session focused on Belper South, in Amber Valley. A bellwether council, Belper South is a Labour-Green marginal, and a target seat for them. The Labour & Co-op candidate, Joel Bryan, will be familiar to many in the region given the work he has put in supporting others, and it was brilliant that members from Leicester University Labour Club were able to join his session. In accordance with the national polling, Joel found that traditional Conservative voters are dismayed by the behaviour in Downing Street and voters more generally worried about rising bills and the cost-of-living crisis. Joel is doing excellent work highlighting the paucity of Green politics. Labour should not be afraid of fighting hard against the Greens. Many people think that the Greens are the natural party for those who care about stopping the climate crisis, but often (and especially in Derby where the Greens are targeting Labour in Darley Ward), Labour has better anti-climate crisis policies than the Greens do. We should not be ashamed of saying a simple fact: Labour is greener than the Green Party.

With less than a fortnight to the local elections, there’s everything to play for. Both councils are electing in thirds for the last time this year, so winning Littleover and Belper South give us important victories that will help us achieve more Labour wins in 2022.