Young Labour conference 2011: Liveblog

12th February, 2011 12:05 pm

By Kirstin Hay and Mark Ferguson

Sunday 9.30: Today is the second day of Young Labour conference, but due to tomorrow’s agenda being weighted towards Labour Students and there not being much for Young Labour delegates to do, London Young Labour Women’s Officer Cat Smith has called a “Discussion for Democracy” – which is either an alternative conference or a fringe meeting depending on who you speak to. Speaking to LabourList, Cat said:

“All day today young members have talked about the way in which we just get to meet once every two years and then all we do is elect officers (who we can never hold to account) and listen to speeches from politicians. So I’ve organised an independent fringe meeting. It’s not about left or right, it’s about democracy and building autonomy.

Delegates for the “Discussion for Democracy” met at 9.30 outside the Wolfson Building, Glasgow University, and they’ll meet there again at 13.30. The event is expected to be addressed by both the incoming and outgoing chairs of Young Labour – Susan Nash and Sam Tarry – as well as by NUS President Aaron Porter.

Anyone seeking more details can email Cat ([email protected]).

19.30: The winning candidates in the Young Labour election both had significant margins of victory: Susan Nash winning with 76% of the vote, Callum Munro got 84%.

Apologies to Samantha Kennedy, who was also elected as Labour Students campaigns & membership officer, who we missed out in our election results round-up earlier.

18.37: Labour students results are in too – Liv Bailey is Chair, and Ross Maccrae is secretary.

18.35: The result is announced. Susan Nash is Young Labour’s new chair, and Callum Munro will represent young members on the NEC. Congratulations to both, and commiserations to the other candidates.

18.30: The election results have been delayed for about 30 mins at least. The counting machine is broken, so it’s being done by hand. Result seems now to have been verified, but is not yet announced or known outside of the counting group.

14.45: The two candidates for Young Labour chair have given their speeches to the conference. Here’s our round-up of what was said – we’ll bring you the result as soon as it’s announced at around 5.30:

Susan Nash’s speech

Susan focussed on the need for a reformed and active Young Labour, and said there has never been a more important time for YL, as young people deal with the brunt of the ConDem cuts.

YL needs to be set free and not held back: agendas days before the start of conference, confusion over delegate entitlement, lack of communication with current national committee. This would not happen to other sections of the Labour party

If we are serious about winning in 2011, then we need to be united as a party and as young Labour. Vote Nash for change that is delivered, vote Nash for a change that’s for the fight ahead.

Christine Quigley’s speech

As chair of largest YL group in country, Christine argued that she has seen first-hand what needs to be done to lead Young Labour. She has four key priorities

Firstly (and most importantly) taking a set of rule changes to conference this year to make sure local YL groups can communicate with members. We need to work with Youth officer, when appointed and youth NEC rep to bring young Labour together successfully.

Secondly with youth unemployment at 20%, it is vital that we, as Young Labour show opposition to the cuts of the draconian Tory-led government.

Thirdly we need to increase diversity of Young Labour – it should reflect all young people: young workers, school students, young unemployed people, university students – we need to be a voice for all.

We have to feed in to policy review process, and push for change. We need to organise training, we need an updated website for information and accountability, and we need to organise for change.

13.42: Both candidates for Young Labour chair have addressed the conference. If you want to know what Susan Nash or Christine Quigley stand for, click on their names to read their LabourList articles on Young Labour reform.

13.04: Jordan Frazer (17) telling us how important the unions are in being part of the party. He believes despite his age, he has the ideas and the passion to be YL NEC rep.

Emma Garland telling us how we need to stand together as youth members, having your say shouldn’t be about if you’re a delegate to conference or geography. She says her number one priority is ensuring everyone is included.

Alex Hay says negativity breeds negativity. He will work day and night to ensure young members are represented on the NEC. Says he lost his speech for today’s hustings, and had to make it up on the train. Urges everyone at YC to come and speak to him about why he’s standing. Raised a laugh when he blamed technology, and then admitted he was a computing student.

Callum Munro says we need to be able to communicate with young members. Says we need to ensure the youth officer promise is fulfilled. We need an annual conference and the ability to debate policy. Young Labour cannot remain an after thought. We must be united as a movement, to make YL stronger.

12.51: There are four candidates for the NEC place Jordan Frazer, Emma Garland, Alexander Hay and Calum Munro. Each will have an opportunity to address the conference, but only one can be elected.

12.45: Next up – NEC youth rep hustings…

12.35: Iain Gray says that we have to mount a campaign saying what we want to do, not just attack – outlines National Care Service, Tough on crime, National literacy drive and Improvements/increases to apprentices program as part of thar positive agenda.

12.30: Cat Smith (LYL Women’s officer) just made a (very popular) point (in q&a to Iain Gray) about how we can’t discuss policy at YC, we have no website, and we only meet every two years and it’s crammed into two days.

12.05: Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray is addressing young members, and encouraging them to come campaign in the crucial Scottish Parliamentary elections, and tells them how vital young members were in ensuring we kept as many seats as we did at the general election. Gray remembers the joy felt in 1997, but he doesn’t want us to have to wait 18 years to feel that again:

“we cannot be the underdogs of British politics. We cannot allow that to happen”

He says if we win the Scottish elections, we are sending a strong message to the government in Westminster. Gray also says that he won’t allow what happened to higher education in England to happen in Scotland.

12.00: Today is the first day of Young Labour conference 2011. Kirstin Hay is reporting for LabourList live from Glasgow, and we’ll be bringing you all of the action and reaction from the conference throughout the day and into tomorrow. First up the equalities caucuses have been electing their Young Labour national representatives. Those elected are:

Michaela Neild – Women’s Officer
Daryn McCombe – LGBT Officer
Mark Cooper – Disabilities Officer
Jyoti Bhojani – BAME Officer

Stay tuned for the rest of the day. We’ll bring you the rest of the results as they’re announced.

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