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Labour’s £25 registered supporters system has left young people out

The money changes hands, pic by 123rf.comThe Labour Party is in a crisis. A political party which is no longer connected to the very people it is supposed to represent. In the midst of a civil war, Labour’s youngest members have yet again been sidelined, ignored and rejected.

Don’t take it from me, talk to the thousands of under 19 labour party members who this week were left disappointed, again. Under the National Executive Committee’s rules, members who joined after the 12th of January are unable to participate in the leadership election. They can, however, sign up as registered supporters. U18s though were unable to do even that.

Even though I myself disagree with the registered supporter system, largely because I don’t believe your democratic voice can be determined by your wealth/ ability to pay £25, U18s have again for no rational reason been left out.

This includes those young people, who when previously asked, would shrug, laugh and dismiss the whole concept of political engagement. This includes young people whose parents may have never voted and have no political background. This includes my school friends, who joined the party a few months ago, only to now be told they have no alternative to participate, they have no say, their participation in the Labour movement isn’t valued.

How ignorant can a political party be, to disengage hundreds if not thousands of young people who have just got involved in politics. It’s beyond belief that a party who claims to stand with young people has time after time again ignored people of my age. They held a youth conference in the most inaccessible and unaffordable location, they held a youth review during summer exams, they fail to converse with young members at CLP/Regional/National levels.

I, even though having been a member of the Labour Party for two years, have never felt so let down. This is a direct rejection of young people from the Labour Party. The simple fact that this was not noticed or raised at all on social media by most Labour politicians, disappoints me, but in no way surprises me. As Young Labour U19s officer, I felt it was my duty to raise this with as many high profile Labour people I could. The response, as a whole was apologetic but not progressive. How can we ensure something like this doesn’t happen again? We can’t!

That’s why I’m making a plea, to every Labour member, politician, trade unionist, act now. Listen to us, speak to us, hear us, share platforms with us. I, as many fellow U19 members are too, am tired of repeating the same thing time after time again. Our purpose is more than just to be in pictures, door knock and be statistical figures for you to boast about how you’re in touch with young people.

I know, this will probably fall on deaf ears. But it’s so vital to keep that glimmer of hope alive. Take Young people seriously. Much thanks.

Asher Mohammed is Young Labour U19s Officer

12 Comments

  1. Faerieson says:

    Yes, it has left out many young and other more cash-strapped people. That’s because it’s not about representing people any more, it’s about ensuring the continuation of a system that has brought about the greatest disparity of wealth, between richest and poorest, that any of us can remember. That’s why it’s so very important to ensure that the faceless ones behind the PLP are not permitted to orchestrate this coup.

  2. John says:

    I agree this was/is appalling. The official reasoning is, to stop people registering with false IDs, the LP need to check people who register and, for this ballot, they are using the electoral register. With some exceptions anyone under the age of 18 is not on the register and therefore it is not possible to check they are who they say they are.

    Of course if there had been a longer time period, other means of cross-checking could have been used, of course if the cut-off date had not arbitrarily been set at 12th January, then the issue would not have arisen. However those determined to reduce the opportunity for Corbyn inclined supporters to have a vote don’t care if they upset young people, to be fair they don’t care who they upset as long as it damages Corbyn. What they fail to see is the damage they are inflicting on the Labour Party.

    Incidentally the issue was raised on Twitter, not a great twitter storm I agree, but it was noted that the right wing had found yet another way to exclude people.

    1. Verity says:

      The explanation about checking surely does not hold water, since some of those being checked as recent Supporters have already have been members for five months – so what new ‘checks’ are being made. There are none. The Labour Party has few means of ‘checking’ other than the of lack of inclusion on the electoral role or being a notorious ‘opponent’.

      Ann Black’s own report of her support for this arose from the fact that she personally did not agree with role given to Supporters and accepted this manoeuvre as a means of implementing her personal view. Although to be fair she did cite some ambiguous survey to which she claimed to be acting in response.

      1. John says:

        Verity, I only paraphrased what I believe is the official reason. There is little point in actually discussing the whys & wherefores of whatever checking system is used. The REAL reason was to exclude a group of people, the majority of whom were thought to favour Jeremy Corbyn.

    2. john P Reid says:

      surely people had to pay with their debit card, so unless they’ve a fake credit card account or used a neighbours/friends /relatives one,gave them the money back

      1. John says:

        Why don’t you write to the NEC john P Reid and ask them why a credit card account ID couldn’t be used to stop fake applications.

  3. Zena says:

    I agree this is very wrong, yet another corrosive action by the ruling section of the Labour Party.

  4. Bazza says:

    And breaking news – court case trying to throw JC off the ballot paper thrown out!
    And it a good job too; it would have been worrying if a court had interfered in the decisions of a democratic party in a democratic society.
    Now let us win the future with Jeremy!

    1. Tony says:

      The power of the PLP to block candidates needs to be reduced. I think that before the 1988 Benn/Heffer challenge to Kinnock, only 5% of the PLP was needed in order to get onto the ballot.

      Each MP only needed 10 signatures to become a parliamentary candidate in the first place. And so, this does need to be changed. I hope this will be done after this election is over.

      10 signatures or 5% seems a reasonable figure.

      1. John says:

        Why not have a role for CLPs to also be involved in the nomination process, a combination of both MP & CLP nominations. Whatever percentage is agreed there must be a minimum of both MPs & CLPs to be nominated. EG, at the moment 51 nominations required, but the minimum is (say) 25% from one or other of the bodies. So currently that would be 13MPs+38 CLPs or 38MPs+13 CLPs or any combination providing the minimum of 13 MPs or 13 CLPs is met.

  5. James Martin says:

    The legal challenge to the early membership date cut off that has stopped 130,000 members from the right to vote is being crowdfund here: https://www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/labour-party-membership/

    It has now reached its target so the legal action is going to proceed, but I suspect extra pledges would still be welcome if anyone hasn’t done so already.

  6. David Pavett says:

    Even though I myself disagree with the registered supporter system, largely because I don’t believe your democratic voice can be determined by your wealth/ ability to pay £25 …

    I don’t understabd this. What does it mean? Is it a disagreement with the RS system or with the £25 hike? The only way your ability to participate would not be influenced by ability to pay would be by making membership free. Finally, political parties have to maintain themselves and therefore have to ask members to contribute to costs that surely means that all those wishing their voice to be heard should contribute to the upkeep of the party on the same basis.

    P.S. An interesting survey of a sample of 900 three-pounders carried out for the Independent showed the majority to be middle class, to have a university degree and to have an average age if 51.

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