Young progressives column

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.

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What’s moral any more?

First published on Progressonline in the Young progressives column

The decision by the government to give three free votes on vital elements in the human fertilisation and embryology bill so that some senior members of the government don’t feel the need to resign on ‘moral’ grounds is both sad and problematic. It suggests that a religiously held belief is more important, or more substantial, than a non-religiously held belief. In the immediate context, and moving beyond the theoretical arguments, is demonstrates a disregard for those loyal members of the Parliamentary Labour Party who voted through the abolition of the 10p rate of tax against their better judgement.

I do not want to go into detail on the 10p rate on tax, but we all know instinctively how this decision feels and we all know why. Helping the poor and disadvantaged is part of the lifeblood of the Labour movement. As a principle it is ingrained within the fabric of our party, and compelling arguments have been voiced on how this principle has been compromised by the abolition of the lower tax rate.

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Labour must do more to encourage community participation among its members

First published on Progressonline in the Young progressives column

I have recently received the honour of being invited to join the governing body of a school based in the heart of Lambeth. I was pleasantly surprised at my first meeting that I was one of about four or five under 30 and wondered how representative this was on the sector more widely. The uniqueness of my situation will not amaze anyone.

I have long been an advocate young people becoming governors, especially current students in secondary school. I am proud that the Labour-led Welsh assembly government has pioneered requiring every secondary school to have two pupils on their governing body. If only Westminster would follow suit. (more…)