London Young Labour elections: Shelly Asquith sets out her stall

by Shelly Asquith

I’m standing for chair of London Young Labour because I want to see us build a strong youth movement that can win for Labour – now, in 2012 and for years to come.
I want to lead a powerful group of young people that can work together to bring about change, and I recognise that this can only be done if first we change London Young Labour.
If I am elected, I will ensure there are structures in place that empower our members. I will ensure we are campaigning in every corner of London: joining students and young workers and giving London Young Labour as strong a voice as possible. We must unite, inspire and win.

I am standing to build a London Young Labour that is a campaigning force.

If we are going to re-connect with the areas Labour lost in 2008, we need action all over London, with members organising canvassing sessions in their own CLPs.

I will provide real training to equip our activists with the skills they need to run campaigns, not just turn up for them. I will organise a scheme that will teach London Young Labour the basics of organising; from leaflet design and voter ID collection, to mail merge and contact creator.

London Young Labour’s visibility in outer-London boroughs this year will be key. My strategy for helping win back lost votes is to reinstate the regional officers for the election period, so that we have a base in every part of London; from the south west to the north east. As part of the training scheme, regional officers will be given the skills to organise their own phone banks, canvassing sessions and socials in their area.

I will take London Young Labour on a campaign day with each of our assembly candidates, ensuring we support the entire mayoral campaign team. Let candidates not say “LYL helped us win”, but “It was LYL wot won it”.

London Young Labour must be an awesome force of activists, not an insular group of graduates. If we’re going to make an impact, we must start representing real Londoners.
I have a strategy for reaching out. This year I have been taking London Young Labour’s message to schools. I want to extend our project of speaking to sixth formers to every London borough ahead of the mayoral election. We have already recruited one hundred volunteers all under 19 and we can recruit hundreds more.

For our unwaged members, I want to make sure London Young Labour is as supportive an organisation as possible. I pledge to set aside a fund that will reimburse travel expenses on campaign days in outer London areas. Not everyone can afford to go door knocking in Kingston or Bexley, but everyone should be able to.

For young professionals already involved in the party who move to London to find work, it is sometimes difficult to find a place within London Young Labour. I will work with Labour clubs outside London to set up a buddy scheme that welcomes new Labour graduates to London and encourages them to get involved.

The work of the liberation officers is integral to London Young Labour’s representation. I will work to support our womens’, disabled, BAME, LGBT and under 19s officers to ensure we are as inclusive and inspiring as organisation as can be.

Labour does not win by being divisive – we win by being united.
I want London Young Labour working with all of our affiliates. As a proud member of Labour Students, I want to strengthen our links with university Labour clubs in London. That’s why, if I am elected, I will introduce a student officer to the executive committee, who will oversee the work we do with Labour clubs and co-ordinate canvassing sessions on university campuses.

Like many Labour party members, I am a trade union member, too. I want to see the visibility of the trade union liaison officer increased, and involve London Young Labour in more campaigns organised by unions and socialist societies. I will also make sure we are visiting branch meetings in London, urging workers young and old to join our movement.

As well as equipping our members with practical campaign skills, I want to give us more of a voice within the party. With so many talented activists in London Young Labour, it is important that our visions for the future are taken on board. That’s why I will have London Young Labour lead on single-issue campaigns like fairer fares; organise a youth & student day with the mayoral campaign to give everyone a chance to submit ideas to Ken Livingstone’s manifesto; and, of course, I will continue the all-member discussions we host with prominent Labour MPs.
London Young Labour has the potential to be a huge force in our city. I believe we can form a strong movement that will speak to young people of all backgrounds –  from school and university students to young workers and graduates. Our vision must be to join up with Labour clubs, deliver our message to sixth forms, discuss ideas with trade union youth wings and most importantly, to get out and give our message to the London electorate.

I want Ken Livingstone to win next year, and I want to be part of the youth movement that wins it for him. A London Young Labour led by me will shake up the election and ensure we take back City Hall. We have the vibrancy, the vision and the voices to make true change, but first we must change ourselves. I’m the one to make that change happens – and that’s why I’m standing for chair.

Please join my campaign: come along and vote at the London Young Labour AGM on 23 October. Details of how to register for the AGM and a full copy of my manifesto are available on my website.

Shelly Asquith is standing for chair of London Young Labour.


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5 Responses to “London Young Labour elections: Shelly Asquith sets out her stall”

  1. Shelly Asquith would make a brilliant chair of London Young Labour: her campaigning enthusiasm, willingness to discuss policy and recognition that Young Labour should be an inclusive, receptive and social organisation as well as a serious one are just the values we need.

  2. Ms Asquith, a good article for the most part.

    I wondered what extracurricular activities — beyond organising or campaigning — you partake in within London?

    I feel activities such as sport help member get to know more people and, subsequently, understand the needs of people. Because of this a Saturday playing football in you local community, for example, could be just as effective as door knocking.

    Besides interacting with the community in different ways, I can’t agree with your support for Ken Livingston. Mr Livingston certainly has the celebrity to win, but his credibility falls to pieces when you take into account his association with Islamo-facists.

  3. Shelly says:

    Ian,

    Thanks for your enquiry.

    Besides being a local Labour Party activist in London, I am also an art student and am training to become an art teacher. I was recently involved in an organisation that represents local artists in the SW London area (where I live) and finds them sponsors for community art projects.
    I hope that is a fitting example of my extra-curricular activity!? 🙂

    Shelly

  4. David Hartley says:

    Interesting refreshing material Shelley. It is a very similar theme as to that adopted in 2005 in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, when the founding chair Navjit Rana successfully recruited 30 young members across the city.

    I understand Nav is in London now (Uxbridge I think, studying). You should go and seek his advice; although you seem to have most of his ideas covered!

    Best wishes

  5. You have a good vision Shelly, you should win, Good luck!

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