“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

  • Featured Scotland What happens now? We keep our promises to Scotland – and we build a better Britain​

    What happens now? We keep our promises to Scotland – and we build a better Britain​

    Well that was close. Not as close as it might have been. But far too close. We never should have got to such a position, but post-mortems can wait until tomorrow at least. There are bigger issues at stake. This is certainly no time for triumphalism. Relief? Pride? Happiness? Of course. Our union is stronger today. But Scotland is divided. 45% of those who voted – 1.5 million people – actively chose to leave the UK. The vast majority of […]

    Read more →
  • News Video “We have chosen unity over division” – Alistair Darling

    “We have chosen unity over division” – Alistair Darling

    With the votes counted, and Scotland voting NO to independence, Alistair Darling – head of the Better Together campaign – gave this speech on the referendum outcome.  He stressed that although Scotland had voted NO, this doesn’t mean that the commitment to devolution has faded away:  “The people of scotland have spoken, it is a clear result, they have kept our country of four nations together and as millions of other people, I am delighted…Now it is time for our […]

    Read more →
  • News Scotland have voted No to independence, say LabourList readers

    Scotland have voted No to independence, say LabourList readers

    In a few hours time, we will find out that Scotland has voted against independence – according to LabourList readers, anyway. 77% of those who took our survey this week said they thought that the outcome of today’s referendum would be a No vote. Despite polls have closed in over the past fortnight, our readers are confident that Scots will have chosen to preserve the Union. 23% think that the result will be in favour of Yes. Only two polls in […]

    Read more →
  • News Lift cap on borrowing so councils can build – say Labour PPCs, councillors and AMs

    Lift cap on borrowing so councils can build – say Labour PPCs, councillors and AMs

    A group of London-based Prospective Parliamentary Candidates, councillors and London Assembly Members have written an open letter (published in the Guardian), calling on party leadership to go further in their policy commitments when it comes to building houses. Although the letter praises Ed’s pledge that the next Labour government “will build 200,000 homes a year by 2020″, the cohort which include urge leadership to commit to lifting what they deem the “arbitrary cap [placed on councils] on borrowing to build”. […]

    Read more →
  • News Are Labour going to make the NHS the focal point of the 2015 campaign?

    Are Labour going to make the NHS the focal point of the 2015 campaign?

    Earlier this week, a poll found that Labour hold an 18-point lead over the Tories as the most trusted party on the NHS – the only topic voters consider a “major issue” that sees a Labour lead. The NHS being a crucial issue of the Scottish referendum, with both sides accusing the other of lying. Many of today’s votes rest on whether they trust Yes Scotland or Better Together’s claims about the health service. Now reports say that Labour are considering […]

    Read more →