One person can always make a difference, but the one person I want to focus on is not the idealistic hero that people always focus on, but the loyal first follower.
I watched a really very good TEDTalk on the idea of the First Follower, and the video is embedded just below:
Basically, for any movement to succeed, whether a religion, a dance, or the YEM, there of course needs to be the visionary with ideas. However, there are always many visionaries with many ideas, they will always appear, and many will disappear. The vital ingredient is the First Follower, that person brave enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with the lone voice in the room. The First Follower gives the idea credibility, and makes it easier for other people to then get involved.
In a YEM context, the UK is a country where it can sometimes be similarly crazy or scary to put your neck on the line and publicly make the case for Europe. However, it has never been so important for us Europeans to be making the case for the Union, and showing that the Eurosceptic dogma that has dominated media headlines is the ranting of the few, not the many. Most British people are pro-European, and many people will sometimes say this, but we need a legion of first followers to give some staying power to these arguments. In short, we need First Followers to really grow the Movement.
It is never an easy job to be the first follower in a political organisation. Often you will have a disproportionately large amount of work to do trying to get more people involved, making sure things are functioning as they should be, and that they can be sustainably passed on to a new generation when the time comes. However, it is an extremely valuable job, a rewarding job, and a vital job at the present time.
Of course it takes many, many people to change the political scene in the UK on Europe, but the single person who can most make a difference? That’s the First Follower! If you come across such an opportunity, grab it by the horns, and do your bit!
By Chris Powers who is currently studying a Master’s degree at the College of Europe in Warsaw, and is a member of YEM Cambridge.