I joined the Labour Party just over two years ago, on my 14th birthday, because I know how important a Labour government could be for the young people of our country. What made last December’s crushing defeat so painful was knowing that it is our generation that will suffer most because of it. With the impending threat of climate change and the long-lasting effect of coronavirus, young people will be at the forefront of political discourse in the coming years. Our movement must be at their side, recruiting and organising with them.
I’ve been campaigning non-stop for the Labour government our generation so desperately needs. I have served on my local campaign forum, canvassed in local and European elections, and am currently chair of my Young Labour group on the Wirral. Even lockdown didn’t stop me organising for Young Labour, creating online events such as a quiz and monthly Q&A sessions with MPs from across the country. Young Labour must use more digital technology to engage young activists, particularly members under the age of 18 who are less able to travel to physical events.
When physical meetings return, every young member must feel safe, welcomed and included in all parts of the party. I’ve experienced first-hand how difficult it can be to have your voice heard in meetings. Young Labour must be taken more seriously, not least in terms of the party’s safeguarding duties. Complaints from young members must be dealt with swiftly, so we feel comfortable at every party event we attend. If elected, I will send a survey to all under 18s in the party to find out what issues they face in their local parties, so I could then fight for improvements that under 18s like me need to see.
Our opinions must matter, too – young people are fed up with platitudes. Yes, we are the future, but we’re also the present. We should be fully engaged in all aspects of policy formation, which is why I would work to establish a direct line between Young Labour and members of the shadow cabinet.
Lack of finance should also never be a barrier to involvement, but right now there is a disparity. Some Young Labour groups are well-funded by CLPs and affiliates, while others are held back. I would push the party to offer a small one-year start-up grant to help CLP Youth Officers establish local groups. Where groups already exist, I will support them in getting more funding from their CLP, MP, campaign forum or regional office. When I first joined the party, my Young Labour group was vital as a safe space where I felt supported. All young members should have this same support network around them in the form of thriving Young Labour groups.
While I enjoy being a Young Labour member, I often feel that more can be done to make the party more accessible for the next generation of activists. If elected, I will use this mixture of frustration and enthusiasm for our party to work with young and experienced members alike. With your help, I hope to make our party the natural place for all under 18s engaged in politics to find new friends, learn new things, and make their mark.
If you are under 18, please nominate me for Young Labour under 18s officer here. My membership number is L1747548. Ballots for this election will be emailed to all under 18 members next month, and I would really appreciate your support in the vote! If you have any questions, or just want to say hi, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter or email me.