At October’s Young Labour national committee meeting, committee members, including chair Simon Darvill and NEC rep Bex Bailey, voted to reject two motions as agenda items: on the grounds that it was not the committee’s place to pass substantive motions, and that this should be left to the biennial policy conference.
This has a very worrying implication: that Young Labour will never again be able to take a substantive position on the majority of issues as they arise. The central argument for voting against hearing the motions was: Young Labour does not need to have motions in order to do stuff. We can simply organise meetings and campaigns, so long as we mention it at meetings. But to have no proper process for officially endorsing political positions and priorities between conference is surely unsafe. Continue reading
For the past month, Young Labour members have been voting for their representatives on the youth section’s supposed ruling body – the Young Labour National Committee. When the ballots opened, I did some analysis of who could be considered left candidates, and who would be worth supporting. The results are now in for the regional reps – and among the contested positions, there have been significant gains for the left (see below).
The committee also includes six trade union representatives, already elected, and a number of positions to be elected at the Labour Youth conference next weekend: Continue reading
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.
As elections for the national committee of Young Labour loom on the horizon, young members will be asking: what did they ever do for us?
You might think this unfair. It’s possible that the committee members work very hard (I know, in fact, of a number that do.) But with no accountability and no sense of what they’re up to, you can see the problem.
At the last Young Labour conference at which elections for top positions were held – in 2011 – delegates complained that there was no mechanism for holding the previous term’s national committee to account. Party officials attempted to stop the then-chair of Young Labour, Sam Tarry, from addressing the conference. There was time to hear Iain Gray, the ill-fated leader of Scottish Labour, ask “what makes young people tick?” but none to hear back from the people who had supposedly been representing us for the previous two years.