At Europe-wide conventions of socialist youth organisations, Britain’s Young Labour was known until recently as “the Blair witch project”.
Since the organisation replaced the Militant-dominated Labour Party Young Socialists in 1992, it has been dominated by those on the hard right of the party, maintained by a culture of fixing and until a few years ago, positions being hand-picked. Young Labour’s leadership has been mainly drawn from the National Organisation of Labour Students (NOLS), notorious for still breaking into chants of “Tony! Tony! Tony!” at conference discos.
Over the coming months, however, the organisation’s national committee is up for election. Some positions will be elected by an online ballot of all members – others will be elected at the Labour Youth conference, 2nd-3rd March in Leicester.
All members should have received an email detailing how to vote. If you have not, you should email Dean Carlin, youth officer at party HQ, as soon as possible: firstname.lastname@example.org
A number of grassroots activists on the left have put themselves up for election, and have pledged to stand up for party democracy and democratic socialism. Candidate statements in these sorts of elections can be notoriously vague, so we’ve tried to come up with a list of which candidates are worth supporting.
CHAIR (elected at Labour Youth conference) – Kate Taylor is a city councillor in Plymouth, making history by being elected last year aged 18. Her manifesto calls for “a democratic Young Labour” including written policy motions at Young Labour conference.
NEC REP (elected at conference) – Olivia Blake is a post-graduate student at the University of Sheffield and vice-chair of her university’s Labour club. She is calling for all future Young Labour elections to take place via ‘one member one vote’ rather than conferences that are prone to packing and only accessible to some.
INTERNATIONAL OFFICER (elected at the conference) – Ben Murray is being supported by many on the left
ORDINARY REPS (2 places, at least one to be a woman, elected at the conference) – many on the left are supporting Dominic Curran, Left Futures associate editor and Warwick Labour activist. He has the backing of Next Generation Labour. Sophie Nash, a Unite activist from Bournemouth, is also being supported by some on the left.
CAUCUS POSITIONS (elected by self-identifying caucuses at the conference):
REGIONAL REPS (elected by an online ‘one member one vote’ ballot):
EAST MIDS: Christian Weaver is the more left-wing of the two candidates
EAST OF ENGLAND: the left candidate is Conrad Landin, youth officer of the Labour Party Irish Society and Left Futures associate editor. He has the backing of Next Generation Labour.
LONDON: Michael Chessum is president of the University of London Union (ULU), a founder of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and an activist in Islington North CLP. He is supported by the LRC.
NORTH: Siobhan Foy is being supported by many on the left
North West: no election
Scotland: no election
SOUTH EAST: Max Shanly, LRC Youth officer and trade union activist, is being supported by many on the left.
SOUTH WEST: many on the left are supporting Kate Taylor – and supporting Sophie Nash in the separate election for ordinary officer
Wales: no election
West Midlands: no election
YORKSHIRE: the left candidate is Michelle Collins, a councillor and trade union activist based in Wakefield
Supportive nominations from CLPs, party branches and trade union branches are most welcome – please let us know via the comments form if your branch manages to secure one!