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Refounding Labour offers young people nothing

Last week’s decisions on the final recommendations of Refounding Labour by Labour’s national executive’s Organisation Committee offered absolutely nothing to young people. Not even a passing reference. Not surprising then the Chair of Young Labour, Susan Nash, and the NEC youth and student rep, Callum Munro, have to issue a call this morning for a party that embraces, not controls, the next generation. We hope everyone will sign up to their appeal here. Callum and Susan argue:

If Young Labour is to be the natural home for those young people who want to make a difference in our society then Young Labour must be able to make a difference in our party. Rights which have long been afforded to other sections of our movement must be given to Young Labour if our movement is to feel valued and able to shape the party to which we belong. The proposal to give Young Labour affiliate rights is a recognition that although Young Labour is very much part of the wider party, it needs a degree of autonomy and independent power if it is to exist as a movement and not simply as a grouping of Labour Party members under the age of 27….

We are not the only ones calling for these reforms, both Ed Miliband and Iain McNicol explicitly promised these rights prior to their respective elections.

We’ve argued that the party should go further still:

  • The establishment of Young Labour branches at CLP level under the supervision of the CLP, with representation at CLP meetings, and the freedom to campaign on issues it regards as important to young people, and to recruit new members.
  • An annual Young Labour conference convened by the Young Labour National Committee with representation from CLPs (or Young Labour branches where they exist) as well as Labour student organisations and trade unions.
  • A sabbatical salary for the elected chair of Young Labour, with office facilities, administrative support and adequate resources to maintain an effective and autonomous organisation.
  • Adequate resources and administrative support for Young Labour at a national level, and full access to for Young Labour officers to membership lists at the appropriate level.
  • Young Labour should be able to feed into party decision-making at all levels – constituency, regionally and nationally, into the national policy forum, national executive and party conference.
  • The Young Labour National Committee should be ex-officio delegates to Labour Party conference, and be entitled to move motions there which have been approved and prioritised by Young Labour conference.

Why not suggest that too to your NEC representatives before they meet tomorrow?


  1. Redshift says:

    I agree with most of what you say but the’branches at CLP level’ don’t necessarily make particular organisational sense. Young Labour groups should be formed around boundaries that make sense so that they are active and effective groups. No point in the party establishing a load of inactive branches. If a largish town or small city for example is split over 2 or 3 CLPs, it may well be the case that it makes a lot more sense clubbing together as one group. Branches would just make it messy.

    The ‘representation at CLP meetings’ is also only a relevant point for CLPs that retain a delegate structure anyway.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Redshift – fair points. I should have said local level which would have allowed the flexibility you argue for. And affiliation/representation at CLP level would have been more universal – many (I think most) CLPs do retain delegate structures but affiliations exist even where they don’t and are still important for parliamentary selections.

  2. Redshift says:

    I think a lot more CLPs are now using all-member meetings to be honest. I take your point about parliamentary selections though, I would definitely regard any local Young Labour group as having the right to influence the decision in the same way as any other affiliate in all the CLPs the group covers. I think this can still work with the flexibility, after all union branches often affiliate to multiple CLPs, so if the local YL group covers more than one, then it affiliates to more than one.

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