I have been enthralled by British politics for as long as I remember, but my involvement until recently has been limited. I have been a Labour Party member for three years, but I have been somewhat of an armchair supporter. This all changed, however, when the Labour Party came calling at my door a couple of months ago and asked if I wanted to help out.
At 27 years old, I thought politics had left me behind, having had no local or national involvement since a school trip to Stormont nearly ten years ago. I moved to Chester last year, and was not aware of the importance that Chester could have on the election until Councillor Sam Dickson knocked on my door and stressed the importance of this marginal constituency.
I went to the Labour Party office the next day and met Lee, then later Rich, the campaign organisers, whose passion and enthusiasm encouraged me to become involved immediately. I began canvassing the next day, which was daunting at first, but with the support of the rest of the group it became second nature. I soon found myself on the doorsteps as much as I could, work permitting. I work 50 hours a week so it has been hard to find time but I have made a point to attend at least 3 sessions a week. It has been so exciting entering the nerve centre of the office, then getting out and speaking to locals about the issues that matter most to them, locally and nationally. I learned so much about why people switch allegiances, what matters most to different cross-sections of the community, and ultimately why people vote for certain parties.
As the campaign went on, the excitement intensified, with new recruits popping up almost daily, ranging from teenagers still at school to retirees, everyone rallying together for the same cause to get our parliamentary candidate, Chris Matheson, returned as the MP for Chester. I spoke to Chris a few times, and was impressed by his commitment, but it was not until his speech at a meeting for everyone involved that I knew that we had a truly special parliamentary candidate. His speech galvanised all of the potential and regular canvassers alike, and I knew I was helping to get the right man elected. I began helping in any way I could, and welcomed the secretary of the Northern Ireland Labour Party, Boyd Black, into my home for a weekend. He was over with an amazing contingent of party members from Northern Ireland to help out with the campaign. Shortly after came the Labour Party rally in Warrington a couple of days later. Two months prior I was a bystander in this election, and here I was metres away from Ed Miliband delivering what felt like a watershed moment in the campaign. He was even more impressive in the flesh, setting out exactly how he wanted to run the country to one thousand delighted party members.
It was around this time of political awakening that I began to open the old textbooks and delve online to immerse myself even further, and every time I did I came across the Fabian Society. I have been a fan for years, but when I started researching its history and role in today’s world I was blown away, and joined immediately. The policies and principles of the society resonate with my views and who I am as a person, and I have had nothing but support and kindness from members since joining.
Which brings me to the present day. I am still actively campaigning, and am looking forward to the big day on May 7th. Once the election is over, I have decided to continue this journey, and go back to university to study a Masters in a political field. I have met some fantastic people along the way, and gained some memories I will never forget. This has been one of the best decisions of my life, and it all came from a chance meeting at my front door. I would urge anyone who wants a Labour government to come out and help. We are at the most crucial stage and it is vital we have numbers out campaigning on election day, so please help in any way you can.
Ryan Maynes is a Young Fabain member