“Fighting for my generation, why I’m joining the Labour party”

November 8, 2010 9:44 am

Labour RoseBy Andrew Lewin

In 2003 I made the decision to join the Liberal Democrats. I did so as a young student passionate about politics and confident I was joining a party that shared my convictions about our society.

I had quickly grown to realise that although I was the product of a first class state education, my good fortune was not shared by thousands of my peers across the country. I was exercised that opportunity was still so determined by either income or postcode and resolved that I wanted to help challenge the status quo.

As a Liberal Democrat activist and later their youngest parliamentary candidate in England, I had long believed the party was equally committed to the future of our young people. It was a belief supported by two manifesto commitments that I promoted time and again on the doorstep; the pledge to scrap university top-up fees and the guarantee of a place in training or work for any young person unemployed for more than 90 days. In the days after the formation of the coalition, my deeply held views didn’t waver, but those of the Lib Dem leadership readily did. It was the start of a journey that was to shatter my faith in the party.

For all the u-turns presided over by Nick Clegg in the past 6 months, I consider the abandonment of the two aforementioned policies the most symbolic; they were bold and progressive, yet both have been needlessly sacrificed at the altar of deficit reduction. The coalition decision to scrap the Future Jobs Fund without a replacement like the ’90 day guarantee’ will drive youth unemployment up still further, while the trebling of top-up fees threatens to create an elite and inaccessible HE sector. Both are measures that our young people can ill-afford today and measures we will all pay the price for in the future. For me, supporting our young people in the education system is not just a moral imperative but an economic one. As this government abandons policies to support young people, it risks creating another lost generation and harming both the social and economic future of the country.

It is not in my nature to stand by and watch this government risk our future, I want to be part of a movement that stands by its values and is ready to offer an alternative vision of Britain.

I have been inspired by Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour Party; with a balance of humility and optimism he has set out a direction of travel for the party that aligns with my long held principles. His bold thinking on a graduate tax and living wage are policies that chime both with aspiration and a belief in building a more progressive society.

I am under no illusions it will be easy, but am convinced that the Labour Party can become the natural home for everyone who wants to see Britain invest in a fairer future for all. I join the party today with a clear sense of purpose and a renewed hope for my generation.

Comments are closed

Latest

  • Comment UN report shows we must take bold action on climate change

    UN report shows we must take bold action on climate change

    The Fifth Assessment report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) could not be clearer. Catastrophic climate change can be prevented if all countries, rich and poor, make the transition to a low carbon economy, and that this can be achieved without damaging economic growth. The IPCC has provided overwhelming and compelling scientific evidence that climate change is real, that it is caused by human activity and that it will have disastrous consequences if urgent action is […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Scotland From food banks to fair pay

    From food banks to fair pay

    We all know that politicians love to talk about ‘fairness’.  Hardly anyone will disagree that people should be paid fairly for the work they do.  But scratch beneath the surface, and there are big political differences. In today’s Britain, hundreds of thousands of people don’t earn enough to feed their families without turning to food banks.  New figures released today by the Trussell Trust show that in 2013-14, their food banks gave emergency food supplies to over 913,000 people.  This […]

    Read more →
  • News Diane Abbott publicly attacks Ed Balls

    Diane Abbott publicly attacks Ed Balls

    Former shadow health minister Diane Abbott has taken to The Guardian website to launch a fairly scathing attack on the economic direction of the Labour leadership. The famously outspoken backbencher warns that if Labour “accept the coalition cuts agenda” they will not last more than a term in office. Abbott says: “Balls has a plan. He just does not feel able to spell it out to party members. It is called embracing Tory austerity.” Interestingly, no mention is made of […]

    Read more →
  • Featured The proof that Clegg’s taxpayer-funded aide is Lib Dem election strategist

    The proof that Clegg’s taxpayer-funded aide is Lib Dem election strategist

    Yesterday LabourList reported the accusations that Nick Clegg was paying his aide, Ryan Coetzee, £110,000 of taxpayers’ money to be a Lib Dem election strategist, rather than a Government aide. Today we can show you powerpoint slides, prepared by Coetzee, that prove he is doing partisan work for the Liberal Democrats. The slides, bearing the Lib Dem logo, show polling figures for the public’s feelings about the Coalition, Clegg and whether people would consider voting Lib Dem. Damningly, one slide […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Five reasons why Labour is likely to win the next general election

    Five reasons why Labour is likely to win the next general election

    On Monday this week, YouGov President Peter Kellner wrote about the ‘fundamentals that favour Cameron’ being re-elected PM in 2015. He lists some fair points, though I’ve argued before that Mr Kellner can be a bit selective in how he presents public opinion. So let me offer you a counter-point: the fundamental factors that favour Ed Miliband and the Labour party in 2015. These are the reasons why I think Labour will emerge as the largest party after the General Election […]

    Read more →