London Young Labour elections: Adam McNicholas sets out his stall

by Adam McNicholas

Many of us returned from Liverpool with a renewed sense of purpose as we approach the 2012 “mid term” elections. However, most members will not have been in Liverpool. They will have been working and going about their lives. For delegates and participants, the responsibility rests with us to bring the discussions and debates of national conference to the local level. As a member of the London Young Labour executive committee, I see it as my responsibility to ensure that young members across London are able to have a voice, whether or not they are able to attend key national events in the party’s calendar.

For those of us, like me, that have the flexibility in our circumstances to have been at Liverpool, reaching out beyond the base of party activists is not simply a challenge; but a responsibility that we bear.

As we approach the London Young Labour annual general meeting on 23 October, the current executive committee must do all that it can to ensure that LYL members have the opportunity to discuss and consider the direction of the party. As well as hearing from Ken Livingstone, there will also be scope for discussion and debate on the direction of the party. I will work to ensure that the schedule for the AGM is not just about elections, but about giving LYL members the opportunity to discuss the direction of travel that we are taking.

This is bread and butter stuff. We owe it to our members to get it right.

I will be standing to be the chair of London young Labour at the AGM. I want to draw on the theme of getting the basics right to set out my vision for LYL.

Much of the debate until now has been on the “what”. All candidates standing for the LYL committee will have a shared desire to throw the weight of young members behind the Ken for London campaign and the GLA candidates. However, the direction of debate, in my view, needs to focus more on the “how”, if the elections are to be contested on the grounds of who is best placed to deliver for LYL.

Going back to basics is crucial for establishing the means by which LYL will meet our shared objective of getting Ken back in City Hall.

London Young Labour has the potential to be an effective organisation within its own right, as long as it has someone who is willing to take the post seriously and lead it as an organisation. The newly elected committee could become a collection of people that meets on an ad hoc basis, resolving little and disputing policy positions that it cannot affect. My view is that the executive committee be organised. I will coordinate an “away day” for the committee, treating the individuals as a team and giving them opportunity to bond and to formulate a plan for the year ahead. Only by reaching agreement by consultation will the committee have buy-in from all members. I have already been in discussions with trade union partners and organisers to assist in facilitating a programme.

Getting an effective core team in place is only the start. Building a movement is the most important challenge.

As the campaigns and membership officer this year, I have been very grateful of the support and commitment of a small number of dedicated activists who have joined me to campaign in by-elections and LYL action Saturday’s across London. However, we cannot, and should not, rely on the same people to be there week in, week out. I will set in place an annual programme that seeks to break beyond the usual suspects. I will coordinate, within weeks of the AGM and with Ken’s team, an LYL 2012 campaign convention, reaching out to LYL members. We will offer members the opportunity to contribute their ideas and to hear from Ken’s team on how we can support them. Training for lead activists in every borough will provide the base for getting out the vote in 2012 and for building an infrastructure for an activist base going forward.

This stuff all sounds very straight forward. However, if LYL is to reach its potential, it needs to go back to basics. Getting the bread and butter of organising right is my commitment to LYL members. Movements are built on solid foundations. It’s my belief that a movement is what we are seeking to build.

For more on my ideas and plans for London Young Labour, please visit my website or visit my Facebook page.

Adam McNicholas is standing for chair of London Young Labour.

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2 Responses to “London Young Labour elections: Adam McNicholas sets out his stall”

  1. swatantra says:

    Its all about organising and making sure you’ve got the members in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.
    Its something that Peter Mandelson did so brilliantly and the Socialist Workers Party and the Fringe Lefties do so well also.
    Thats what modernisation of the Party means and will ultimately win us elections.
    Its no point in having the right policies if nobody gets to hear about them and understand them. This was a failining of Labour in the past and what kept us out of power so long. So Good Luck with Young Labour!

  2. swatantra says:

    … and good luck to all the candidates!
    Campaigning Organisation and Likeability, all three will bring a Labour Govt again.

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