Posts Tagged ‘young Labour’

Young Labour is just the start. Momentum is coming for Labour’s soul

20/10/2017, 01:56:15 PM

by Rob Marchant

Last week, in a set of motions to conference, Labour railed against British “imperialism”, decided to come out of NATO, nationalise the City and advocated that Israel can happily be abolished.

Actually, no. That was Young Labour. Bless them: there were probably tens or hundreds of sensible motions there which got no coverage (and you could almost forgive the howling historical gaffes in the text of these: Britain was in the Vietnam War? Really?)

But, as often in politics, the outliers tell a story: it was a useful indicator of what is likely to happen within Labour itself over the next few years, if there is no successful challenge to the current leadership.

The logic is not complex: the direction of travel of conference motions is clearly moving ever further towards the nutty. And naturally, what is commonplace in Young Labour today is going to be commonplace in Labour itself tomorrow.

It is typical in Labour circles – as in many unions – to argue that no-one pays any attention to such motions, it’s all a storm in a teacup, and so on. In the case of unions, that is almost certainly the case – union conferences rarely get much press coverage nowadays, and there have always been nutty motions.

The difference is that, in the case of the Labour Party, people do pay attention. In fact, the party spent years painstakingly recovering its credibility after its disastrous early 1980s conferences descended into farce, through precisely that kind of behaviour. It was only in 1985 when Kinnock raged brilliantly against Militant in his “scuttling around in taxis” speech, that there came a turning point in the party’s long, hard road back to credibility and, ultimately, to government.


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Brightside and Hillsborough race hots up, amid charges of early campaigning

24/02/2016, 03:04:04 PM

The race to succeed the late Harry Harpham as MP for Brightside and Hillsborough has begun in earnest.

His widow, Gill Furniss, herself a respected local councillor in the constituency, has confirmed she is seeking the nomination and has already secured the support of a number of local councillors and officials.

She is also backed by Coun Jackie Drayton, Sheffield’s cabinet member for children’s services and the runner-up to Harpham in the previous selection contest.

Other declared contenders include former Hallam parliamentary candidate, Oliver Coppard and former aid worker, Mike Buckley, who came third in the race to succeed David Blunkett for the seat back in 2014.

Given Harpham’s near impregnable 13,807 majority last May, there are no shortage of other aspirant hat-tossers.

These include Chesterfield councillor and A&E doctor, Stephen Hitchen and former teenage parliamentary candidate, Solomon Curtis, who stood for Labour in the East Sussex Tory stronghold of Wealdon at the last general election.

However, there have been serious allegations that at least one hopeful was campaigning for the nomination while Harpham was still battling cancer. Even in the torrid world of Labour selections this is a new low.

Uncut also understands there are complaints about a Young Labour nomination for Coppard which has been referred to the party’s Yorkshire and Humber regional office. No vote of actual young members appears to have been taken.

Although a classic ‘safe’ Labour seat, UKIP has steadily made inroads into Labour’s share of the vote in the constituency in recent elections, coming second to Harpham in last year’s general election with nearly nine thousand votes.

There will be concerns that any attempt to take voters here for granted could backfire and make, what should be a relatively straight-forward by-election, more difficult than it needs to be.

Local party officials say they have been assured by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn there will be no attempt to parachute-in a leadership loyalist.

Harry Harpham was a popular and authentic choice to succeed Blunkett in this working class stronghold and the smart money is on Furniss to now succeed him.

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Bullying, intimidation and walkouts – A review of Young Labour and Labour Students’ conferences

03/03/2014, 05:12:12 PM

by Cameron Beavan-King

The Labour Students conference began the Friday before last with a co-ordinated effort by several clubs, threatening disaffiliation over the issue of One Member One Vote (OMOV) for elections to the Labour Students National Committee.

In the run-up to conference, the clubs had sent a letter protesting the decision by Steering and the National Committee to block three motions asking for a further debate on OMOV at conference. However, as delegates had already voted on this issue at National Council and agreed not to discuss it until after 2015, the three motions were blocked.

This tension continued into the conference with a mass walkout by several clubs over this issue and a poorly worded motion in favour of stopping censorship and inference from National Council. The motion as a whole would have done nothing to progress their aims and was rightly voted down by the remaining delegates after the walkout.

It is important to note that the walkout was bound up in the politics of Labour students – it was led by supporters of Tom Phipps for National Secretary, though Tom did not walk out himself.

To be brutally honest, I cannot see what the walkout or the whole disaffiliation threat will achieve at all, other than dividing us in the crucial run-up to 2015.

I cannot understand what we will achieve as a divided organisation. On the back of our membership cards, it said “Through our common endeavours we achieve more than we achieve alone.”


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Young Labour descends into early 80’s style infighting

27/02/2014, 12:26:34 PM

by Renie Anjeh

The events that took place in Bradford last weekend should be a warning for every young member in the party.

Acrimonious divisions and infighting at the heart of Young Labour were exposed, something that was very disheartening for young activists across the country.  I have to confess that I did not attend the conference because it was too expensive but the fact that a vocal minority have successfully managed to embarrass Young Labour members should be of grave concern for us all.

One of the big issues was the rather obvious matter of Labour Students and OMOV.  This has often been the topic of heated discussion in certain Young Labour circles. Personally, I think that Labour Students have other priorities but I also accept that there may well be a case for OMOV to be discussed and it is not unreasonable for people to want that debate.

However, what is completely objectionable is the sheer hypocrisy of some people on the Left who constantly attack Labour Students not having OMOV when their house is not in order.   Trade union reps on Young Labour National Committee are not elected by OMOV and they have often been elected unopposed due to their ‘support’ from union officials rather than young trade unionists.  How on earth is that fair or democratic?

Many of the people, who boycotted Labour Students meetings and threatened to disaffiliate from Labour Students over the issue of OMOV, voted against OMOV for Labour leadership elections.  It just goes to show that for all their faux outrage, their commitment to OMOV is skin deep.

It’s about time the Left are honest that their real problem is not OMOV, or even Labour Students, but about their disdain for moderates in the party.


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Re-engaging young people is central to Refounding Labour

30/08/2012, 04:37:16 PM

by Amanda Ramsay

By starting the process of Refounding Labour, Ed Miliband has made much of rebuilding the party, making it more open to new members and to a broader section of society; welcome news then of the launch this month of Bristol Young Labour.

While experience of life and party politics is invaluable from older members, it is encouraging that enough young people in the city want to give their time and energy in outreach work and political engagement.

They offer the party the opportunity to refresh our politics in an age of disaffection and apathy

Young Labour is open to 14 to 26 year olds and brings voting privileges and access to events and activities that being an armchair supporter will never offer.

“Timings have worked out well for us,” explained Stephen Fulham, who chaired the launch event.

“Setting-up Young Labour alongside a mayoral election provides motivation and opportunities for members that would not otherwise be possible.

The mayoral election in Bristol on 15 November has regional and national significance and we’re networking with Young Labour groups around the country who want to help support Marvin Rees, Labour’s candidate to be the first directly elected mayor.”

Bristol Young Labour aims to engage young people across Bristol in the work of the Labour party and to reflect the diversity of young people within society.


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Really refounding Labour

25/06/2011, 01:22:44 PM

by David Prescott

So the party’s consulatation on how it operates has drawn to a close.

I know the cyncial among you might think that it was a waste of time. Personally, I think it has been a significant opportunity to help people who genuinely don’t have many ideas on how to restructure the party. This really was blank page politics and the following was my little doodle.

During the last general election, as director of campaigns for go fourth, the campaign for a Labour fourth term, I helped to organise and deliver a key seats tour of the country.

In a hired Ford Transit, financed by small online donations and Unite, we managed to cover 70 marginal seats in those 30 days of the short campaign and 30 more in the long campaign (from January to April).

It gave us a fascinating insight into what worked and what didn’t work in the key seats.

It became very clear, during the course of the tour, that some were far better prepared than others. A good test would be to see how well organized the visit was and how many activists attended.

The better ones would have more than 20 activists and supporters, a good location with strong footfall and journalists lined-up for interviews. The worst ones would let us meander down a street with no clear direction, purpose or media.

But the clearest indicator was the result and swing. (more…)

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Young Labour at the heart of the fightback

11/02/2011, 03:00:50 PM

by Stephanie Peacock

Whether it’s the tripling of tuition fees, the end of the future jobs fund or the abolition of the education maintenance allowance, this government’s reckless and draconian cuts are hitting the youngest hardest.

So it’s no surprise that since the election we have seen an extra 50,000 party members – many of whom are young members. This is a critical time for young people to join Labour and stand up to the Government’s attack on their opportunities.

A new generation of young people has been politicised by this government’s shameful and devastating actions. The Labour party needs to be on their side. We must provide an alternative and convert that passion and anger into activism. To do that we, as a party, need to do a number of things.

Over the past four years I have had the honour of being the youth rep on our party’s national executive committee. And this weekend, at our youth conference in Glasgow, I stand down. During this time, there have been big changes in Labour’s youth movement. The ones I am proudest of are the successful campaign for a £1 youth membership rate, the introduction of great training and a toolkit for activists and the historic reform of young labour. (more…)

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Sorry, you have the wrong genitals: young Labour’s new election policy.

23/12/2010, 12:00:25 PM

by Ian Silvera

Recently, I received a letter from young Labour, Labour’s youth wing. Nothing new, I thought, probably trying to promote another public affairs event with the persuasive allure of free tea and biscuits. However, my inclinations were wrong. I had been asked, with thousands of other members, to consider taking part in the party’s youth elections. The particular election that stood out to me was the regional representative election. I was elated that I had been given an opportunity to represent my home region, the West Midlands, on young Labour’s national committee.

Alas, in the rest of the letter I was presented with some bad news. Although I had a gender – “there are rules relating to gender” – my gender was the wrong one. I have a penis. Apparently, the letter explained, Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) has agreed that half the regions will be required to elect women and the other half will be open to men and women. Skilfully, the NEC has alienated roughly half of their young members (the ones with penises) in the following regions: East Midlands, Eastern, London, South East, West Midlands and Yorkshire. (more…)

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Young people are going to be at the sharp end, says Ken Livingstone

23/08/2010, 03:00:19 PM

Young people are going to find themselves at the sharp end under this government. A key part of what we do in the next few years will be to make a concerted effort to engage with the concerns of our youngest citizens. And to make that more effective we will also need to give our younger members our confidence and a bigger say.

I have appointed a Young Labour member – Veronica King – as my campaign vice chair because we should not treat young members merely as campaign fodder, but listen to them and involve them more. If I am selected by Labour members – and then if elected as mayor – I want to see a flourishing youth structure for under-27s in our party that can help us win. (more…)

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