Left maintains stronghold: A report from Scottish Young Labour Conference

12698712_463223943883332_7488740259695838113_oScottish Labour Young Socialists (SLYS) won the full executive committee slate at Scottish Young Labour conference this month, on the back of Campaign for Socialism (CFS) success in winning five seats on the Scottish Executive Committee (SEC), which once again shows the changing dynamics within the Labour Party in Scotland. The situation facing Labour in Scotland is a difficult one; we’re still dealing with the legacy left by Tony Blair, whose policies left so many across Britain worse off; we find ourselves squeezed between two contending nationalisms; we suffer in the polls thanks to continued efforts, within and without, to undermine our Party’s leadership; but despite this, one thing we can never be accused of is a lack of optimism for the future – we have hope, because we know that our ideas, our strategy and our determination will lead us to victory. Continue reading

After Corbyn: Lessons from Scottish Young Labour conference

12698712_463223943883332_7488740259695838113_oYouth politics can be miserable. The culture in NUS and Labour Students is particularly toxic and it is to blame for a generation of jaded and cynical young activists. The student movement no longer churns out leaders like Dutschke, Wilkerson, or Hayden.

It’s understandable then that socialists are reluctant to engage in youth politics. The idea that youth politics is irrelevant and indulgent is a common refrain on certain strands of the Left. It is argued that we should spend our time on different projects with more immediate returns.

But the reality is that youth politics is much more important than we think. NUS, Labour Students, and Young Labour have long been training grounds for future parliamentarians and bureaucrats. They do more than teach how to pack a room. Youth politics teaches a generation of activists what is politically possible. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Young Labour in Left landslide but chaos, manipulation & smears mar NEC election

Young Labour Labour Students Next GenerationThe Young Labour conference in Scarborough this weekend has seen the triumph of the Momentum Youth and Student slate in the elections for the Young Labour national committee. The sweeping victory of the Left for the first time in 30 years presents an opportunity to create a movement capable of attracting not those who want careers in politics but those who were enthused in such large numbers last summer by the prospect of a new kind of politics. Unfortunately it is marred by the dirtiest contest for an internal election I have ever witnessed.

What the Labour Party needs is a generation of activists motivated by idealism and hope with the ambition to make the world a better, greener, more equal place, with communities that care about peoples’ needs, and workplaces that develop skills and offer secure jobs with proper wages. Not another, much smaller generation of people who would provide yet more identikit MPs in suits, of whom the British public have already seen too many. Continue reading

Democracy with a price tag is a dangerous precedent

Young Labour Labour Students Next GenerationAs a youth worker for over 17 years some of my best political conversations have been with young people. However, sadly many of those young people do not engage with the democratic systems and political parties in our country.

So I was extremely proud to hear not one, but three [one as a delegate from their Labour students group] young Labour members from Tottenham had been elected as delegates to the National Young Labour Conference taking place this month. It gave me comfort that young Labour members in my area were so engaged that they not only joined the party but also got involved.

Tottenham is one of the most deprived areas of the UK, although this may not reflect the socio-economic status of the elected delegates who live in Tottenham, we can make some assumptions that during times of austerity we know young adults are one of the groups hardest hit, therefore financial barriers would probably exist for many young members, even if not from Tottenham, but being from Tottenham is likely to increase the risk of financial exclusion. Continue reading