Young Labour

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First published in Progress magazine and LabourList

Labour selections are long due an overhaul, but are new proposals a step backwards?

Barnsley Central’s selection of former paratrooper Dan Jarvis as its by-election candidate stands out for its choice of a new face with a different background. But the National Executive Committee’s new rules look set to restrict what can already be an opaque system.

The current assault course for wannabe MPs constitutes a 12-week process starting with self-nomination and access to membership lists, knocking frantically on doors and telephoning members. Four weeks in, a members’ event is organised and six weeks in branch meetings nominate up to three candidates. Anyone winning nominations in branches with a membership totalling more than half the CLP’s membership is shortlisted. The remainder are selected from those nominated by ward branches, unions and affiliates, and CLP equalities groups like Young Labour, women or BAME by members of the CLP’s General Committee. The prospective MP is finally decided by AV at an all-members’ hustings meeting. (more…)

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Votes at 16 – an idea that made its case

First published on Progressonline in the Young progressives column

Following the UK Youth Parliament’s both historic and impressive performance in the House of Commons two weeks ago, the prime minister was asked if he supported lowering the voting age to 16. To my surprise, he pledged his support for the policy but said yet more consultation was needed.

Following the UK Youth Parliament’s both historic and impressive performance in the House of Commons two weeks ago, the prime minister was asked if he supported lowering the voting age to 16. To my surprise, he pledged his support for the policy but said yet more consultation was needed. (more…)

This was an impressive display of our Youth Movement – now, GoFourth and win!

First published on LabourList

The Youth Movement of the Labour Party has shown itself to be dynamic, progressive and keen to GoFourth – and win the next election. Whether on the pages of LabourList or the workshops at Young Labour Conference, ideas have flowed, strategy has been forged and a vision debated.

The diversity of posts have shown the breath of Young Labour members – both politically and as individuals. Young members come from all different communities, 13 of the 29 posts have been from young women and Labour’s best ideas have come from those young and young at heart. (more…)

Fighting for our future – Young Labour Day on LabourList

Fist published on LabourList

No one will believe that two weeks ago I agreed to guest edit LabourList – I am sure it would be more popular to declare that I have ousted Derek Draper – but the truth is that in the run up to the Labour party’s Youth Conference this Saturday there is a passion and enthusiasm that should not go unexplored.

This debate comes at a low point for Labour blogging, in a week where we have all seen the worst excesses of politics and politicians on every front page in the country. But our young contributors give hope, a promise of change and a vision for what’s next and how we go forward. (more…)

Top-up fees should be rebranded not reviewed

First published on Progressonline in the Young progressives column

Sarah Mullholland writing for the newest addition to the blogosphere, Labour List, initiated a debate on the future of our higher education sector. Due in 2009 is the government’s review of the controversial variable fees that were introduced in the last Higher Education Act that passed by a mere five votes.

While I still have huge reservations about fees – NUS have set out an excellent analysis of the current situation in their report “Broke and Broken” – I have never had a problem about a student contribution while free at the point of use. I think many other opponents of fees have been pleasantly surprised that still more students and fractionally more poorer students go to university. What I really wonder is how many more might have gone if the fear of massive debt had not been a prohibitive barrier? (more…)

Sex and relationship education will enable young people to make informed choices

First published on Progressonline in the Young progressives column

The government in its wisdom last week announced that sex and relationship education will be a compulsory part of the school curriculum. This is fantastic news for young people and Britain more widely.

The reviewed guidance and the addition of compulsion are welcome steps in their own right and will do lots to help combat unintended teenage pregnancies, the sexual health epidemic we are facing and the low esteem of particularly young women and gay men that means people feel they cannot say ‘no’. (more…)

Votes at 16 would allow young people to defend their public services at the ballot box

First published on Progressonline in the Young progressives column

The National Policy forum in its wisdom has voted to recommend to Labour party conference that reducing the voting age to 16 be in the next Labour manifesto. This has started a lively debate in the party and the country at large – one that we should all welcome and get on board with.

(more…)

Zimbabwe: hope lies with the young

First published on Progressonline in the Young progressives column

As the foreign minister of Tanzania says of the situation in Zimbabwe, ‘there is little chance of the elections being free and fair’. The mind of progressives must be focused on the battle for peace, justice and democracy that our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe’s trade unions have to wage.

It is well known that the Zimbabwe Trade Union Congress established the Movement for Democratic Change but the role of its lesser known sister organisation, ZINASU – the Zimbabwean National Students´ Union, is often overlooked. The local and national student leadership have also been on the receiving end of beatings and violence in the struggle for democracy.

(more…)