Although I've hardly had time to catch my breath since the General Election, I've managed to find a bit of time on my rail commutes to and from Hartlepool to look at some interesting statistics.
The first is the massive surge in membership of the Labour Party. Membership now stands at over 550,000 with 35,000 joining in just four days after the election. These numbers are not only a fantastic tribute to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership but they show that politics is now being done in a totally different way.
I genuinely wasn't sure how many Labour members we have in Hartlepool and to say I was delighted when I found out is an understatement. We have around 1,000 members. For a town of our size that is remarkable. But what is more remarkable is the number of new members who are either getting involved or want to get involved. I saw this on the doorsteps in the election campaign and especially on social media and it was fantastic.
I've also been looking at the demographics of voting at the general election and it shows that the Labour Party is being massively supported by young people. That can only be good for the future of the party and democracy in general. In what has been described as a "Youthquake", over 60% of voters in the 18-24 age bracket voted Labour. Less than 30% voted Tory. The figures were very similar in the 25-34 category and it wasn't until the 45-54 group that the Tory vote crept above Labour's.
I know that many of our new members in Hartlepool are not happy with things that have happened locally in the past. Well, the solution is in their hands. They need to get involved. The party needs them and will welcome them with open arms.
There's little point having thousands of members and having them sitting on their hands feeling they haven't got a voice. They have. By the same token, the party needs to harness all of the young (and not so young) talent we have out there. We must all work together to achieve our dreams and aspirations and I genuinely believe that we now have a golden opportunity to create a true mass participation party.
We have momentum and enthusiasm on our side. I couldn't be more optimistic for the future of the party and the future of our young people.
Harness their talents work to achieve their aspirations created a huge surge of mime brim we can't let this golden opportunity slip