As the sun sets on another year (for the 38th time in my life - how did that happen?) it's surely time to share my enthusiasm for 2010. I can't help thinking that, however you cut it, next year will be the one that Green Party MPs are returned to Westminster for the first time. I hope to be among their number. We'll be having a General Election within weeks - and there have never quite been circumstances like it. After three terms, the incumbent Labour Government is deeply unpopular. It's hardly surprising, really. We're at war on two fronts (and both the bodies, and the bills, are piling up), the gap between the richest and the poorest is wider than ever, public services are under attack, taxes and unemployment are both on the rise.
But no-one really wants to vote for the Tories either - certainly not in Moulsecoomb, Whitehawk, Kemp Town, Peacehaven or Saltdean. Many of us can remember the socal destruction wrought last time we had a Tory government. Younger residents are just gobsmacked, it seems to me, by the gibberish the Tories seem to speak on everything from the environment to the economy, the wide gulf between the words and spin coming out of Tory HQ and the reality of the Tory councillors and candidates here in Brighton and Sussex, and the Eton and Oxford background of so many of them. Voters want change - but not THAT change.
That's why the Green Party's vote share has been increasingly, steadily, over the years - and why polls are now predicting the Greens will pick up seeats for the first time: that 2010 will be our year.
To be honest, I reckon we'll end up with a Tory government (although I hope it's a hung parliament, so the voices of all parties will have to be listened to - as Mary Mears is beginning to understand at Brighton Council) - and the question facing those of us living here in Brighton Kemptown is simple: in the context of a Tory government, who do you want to represent you locally?
I think the best answer is a Green Party MP. Of course, I would say that wouldn't I - but Greens have consistently shown they work tirelessly for the communities they serve (unlike some MPs from other parties).
So, please vote Green in 2010 - whether you live here in Brighton or not. Not only will you get a hardworking and honest constituency MP (unencumbered by a party line that will surely hamper Labour or Tory MPs whatever happens) you'll be playing a key role in changing the nature of debate at Westminster.
Remember, one more Tory or Labour MP will hardly be noticerd - but electing some Green MPs to Westminster will make a world of difference.