The Youth of Today: What’s next for Labour Students?

June 10, 2012 11:37 am

Labour Students, set up in 1971 as a campaigning organisation for student supporters of the Labour Party and social democracy, has now got a broad, diverse membership of young people who work together to help create a fairer society for us all. From Liberation to Living Wage, from Democracy to Social Justice, Labour Students has always been on the forefront of winning for Labour and winning for the country.

I am a Labour Student myself and, like many others, have been involved in student politics and the National Union of Students (NUS). Currently, there are six members of the Labour Students NUS group, who help to influence policy and dynamically engage with students in campuses the length and breadth of the country. From Tuition Fees to EMA and the Make Child Poverty History campaign, this intrinsic relationship between two of the widest and largest movements of young people in the world has been extremely effective in highlighting the views, opinions and unique ideas of a generation that is viewed as secondary by today’s government.
But now it is more crucial than ever before that Students and Young people are involved in politics. The Coalition has scrapped EMA, cut citizenship education, hiked tuition fees, and made access to universities a nightmare for young people. Our young people in this country are some of the most gifted, ingenious, articulate and idea-driven people I have ever met. With people like Liam Burns heading up the NUS, students around the country are starting to have a real voice in issues that concern them. Labour Students has driven that change, has embraced the intelligence of our young and has spearheaded the campaign for equality. But we haven’t gone far enough.
Labour under Ed Miliband has taken Labour Students under its wing, but this needs to be more prevalent. Young people need a voice. This is why I support the Votes at 16 Campaign, and I think all Labour MP’s should too. But the point is: the Labour movement has to show young people that their voice matters and that, collectively, we can achieve so much together that we never could on our own. On issues like Lords Reform, Education, Health, Voting, the Environment, students and young people throughout the country have so much to offer in terms of research and opinion. But yet this government still ignores them. This is what must end and, with the help of Labour Students, it will.
With more than one million young people unemployed today, a need for a unique student-led ‘reclaim our voice’ campaign has never been higher.Labour Students needs to be at the forefront of a UK-wide pledge that young people will never be ignored again. We need to mobilise: knocking on doors, signing up MP’s and Councillors to our campaign, petitioning Parliament, lobbying on LGBT, Black, Woman, Disabled and other minority issues. Labour Students needs to show the public that the media-driven image of young people as troublemakers and hoodlums is totally inaccurate, and that we are actually an active proponent of equality, diversity, and opportunity. Within a multi-faceted society such as ours, unity is the only way possible.
And it is that unity which Labour Students and the Labour Party need to provide.
  • Rosie Smith

    I love how this has been written by someone who has never got actively involved in Labour Students, has never come to Labour Students events, and didn’t support Labour Students candidates at NUS National Conference.

    • treborc1

       So to have a view you have to go to meetings, I do not know whether he  is just looking to get on the labour band wagon, but are his views wrong.

    • Chilbaldi

       How is this relevant?

      Ps Labour Students candidates don’t usually need support at the NUS Conference, given that it is usually a stitch up in their favour.

    • Michael Thomas Wilson

       Hi there. I have been involved, I do come to events, and I did support Labour Candidates at NUS National Conference. So all of your claims are false. Also, how can you presume to know what I voted for in a secret ballot? Thanks!

  • Tom R

    He doesn’t even go here…

    • Michael Thomas Wilson

      Go where?

  • Daniel Speight

    Maybe it’s time Labour had a youth movement that wasn’t just for students. 

    • Guest

      Ever heard of Young Labour……..

      • treborc1

         http://www.younglabour.org.uk/

      • Daniel Speight

        I stand corrected if that’s the non-student body. How big is it? I still remember the YS which i think was followed by the LPYS.

        Interesting though, should students and other young Labour supporters be in separate organizations? I’m asking this as it seems the NUS is used as a breeding ground for Labour apparatchiks. Possibly a leavening with working class youth would improve the quality of what is supplied to the Labour Party.

        Edit: I have to say Jim Murphy’s background was sticking in my mind and the dislike I feel towards him. Maybe another Chris Mullin quote is in order;-)

        • treborc1

          I was in the sort of youth movement labour had in the 1970’s basically we ended up making the tea and cleaning up after meetings delivered leaflets knocked on doors with a Grown up.

          Today you are automatically in the youth movement if your 25 and under.

          The Student movement looks to be more  well sort of old labour then new labour lots of people angry over labour tuition  fees, the welfare reforms, but they get that knocked out of them before they leave.

          • Daniel Speight

            I remember Healy’s Young Socialists running discos on the London council estates. A large working class membership, wasted of course. They left the Labour Party or were expelled, can’t remember which now. I don’t think there’s been anything quite like it since.

          • treborc1

            We had the working mans club, in which we use to run the youth club, the cricket the football, the Rugby. The Saturday night disco in which I was the DJ and then we have the bingo, all that’s gone the last meeting labour had around me was in the secretaries  living room. they turned the workies into the Conservative club years ago.

  • AlanGiles


    With people like Liam Burns heading up the NUS, students around the country are starting to have a real voice in issues that concern them.”

    Oh dear!. I hope that they have a long spoon if they are going to sup with the devil, and I hope that they never become ill or disabled, they will see what a generous and understanding man he is.

    What with Byrne and the “re-engagement” of Uncle Tony with British politics the future of Labour seems to lay firmly in the past.

    If I was 18 again (if only) I would join the Greens and leave Tory manques like Byrne to hi own devices.

    • Michael Thomas Wilson

      Hi Alan! Thanks for your comment, but I think you mean Liam Byrne from the Coalition Government. I meant Liam Burns, leader of the National Union of Students. Thanks!

      • AlanGiles

        Sorry Michael. I genuinely thought you meant you-know-who and that it was a simple typing error. My apologies. How difficult life must get for your Mr Burns to have such a similar sounding name!

        • Michael Thomas Wilson

           Ha ha! I’m sure he does and it’s fine, thanks for taking the time to read the article!

  • Michael Thomas Wilson

    Hi all! Just to clarify: This article was written for young Labour Students, who are under 25’s, therefore making the title accurate. I recognise and appreciate that not all students are under 25, and applaud any mature and PhD students for the magnificent work they do in our country.

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