Candidate Statements 2018

Nathaneal Amos-Sansam (Croydon Central) Open Place

I am standing because at this time of political polarisation both inside and outside of the Labour movement I believe that the values of openness and pluralism are needed more than ever.

My main priorities if elected are:

• Building up Open Labour’s media profile
• Working to make sure our organisation is member-led
• Ensuring Open Labour offers a distinct platform

I have experience working in press and media roles that involved generating and managing media opportunities, and I would love to help build and increase Open Labour’s media profile to facilitate its growth.

I have experience of member-led activism through organising events and activities at the Young Fabians where I helped expand the organisation’s scope by setting up its member-led International Network. Since that time I have been elected to its National Executive Committee where I served as Membership Officer. I have also been actively involved in both my Local Labour party and within the Co-Operative Party.

I feel that Open Labour can and should be a forum for reasoned yet radical debate, discussion and finally action to make this a reality in the coming years, and I believe that I have the experience to help make this a reality.

Jade Azim (Walthamstow) Open Place

I’ve served the past 2 years as Open Labour’s Editor and then Co-Editor, establishing Open Labour’s presence on digital and pushing our influence in terms of communications.

I’ve recently helped establish our policy and policy strategy, including our strategy for a soft Brexit and the most effective ways to influence Labour’s direction in this and other policy areas.

It is through my passion for effective communications and campaigning that I want to make Open Labour as powerful as it can be as a member of the National Committee.

Emma Burnell (Walthamstow) Open Place

I am a freelance journalist and communications consultant and have been editing Open Labour’s website for the past year, providing and sourcing content. I would like to continue to offer these services as well as increasing the number of articles we publish by committee members, members of Open Labour and other fellow travellers.

I am a strong believer in the values of Open Labour. It is through the kind of pragmatic socialism that we espouse that we will see a Corbyn-led Labour Party transform the country in much-needed ways. I believe it is vital that the left continues to be internationalist and focused on outcomes of equality and justice for all. I am a staunch pro-European, a feminist and a constant questioner of power in all its forms.

Over the past 15 years, I have worked in communications for campaigns around housing, adult education and unions. I have also held positions at a number of think tanks and have a passion for the development of ideas on the left.

I bring a combination of optimism and realism to communications and campaigning that matches the Open Labour approach and hope to continue to help the organisation grow and develop.

Craig Dawson (Newcastle East) Open and LGBT Place

I am a socialist and trade unionist who has been a workplace organiser and currently represents young members on the GMB national executive I also represent young workers as the Chair of the TUC Young Workers Forum and have been a member of the General Council of the TUC for almost two years.

Prior to this, I have been a member of the Labour North Regional Board and also a member of Young Labour’s National Committee representing the North East and North Cumbria.

I’m a web and software developer studying a Masters in Computer Science at Newcastle University and have worked with Open Labour members to build websites
and develop their online presence in selections and elections.

As Chair of the TUC Young Workers Forum I have been leading a series of campaigns over the past few years including one to highlight the appalling state of
underpayment of the Apprentice Minimum Wage, particularly for young women in health and beauty. I’m a seasoned campaigner and activist having been a member of the Labour Party for almost eleven years, regularly door knocking across the country and North East.

Helen Dennis (Camberwell and Peckham) Open Place

I’m standing for the Management Committee of Open Labour because I am absolutely committed to transformative left-wing politics and believe that we have something important to offer the Labour movement at a time when factionalism can too often dominate our debates. Labour politics should always be inclusive and relational, as well as principled and determined, and as we face the challenges of Brexit and continued austerity from the opposition, we need to be in the business of movement building.

As a local Labour & Co-operative Councillor in Southwark, I have sought to be a loyal but independently minded group member, championing mental health and housing. I was really enthused by our 2017 Labour manifesto and will continue to champion a left-wing policy agenda which responds to the challenges facing our communities. My day job is in international development where I am exploring how Brexit will impact on trade with developing countries and I have previously worked on tax justice and climate change campaigns.

I am also a former CLP Chair, former Vice-Chair of one of the largest affiliates – the Christian Socialist Movement (now COTL), and in my last job, I was a Unite workplace rep for two years.

Danny Filer (Dulwich and West Norwood) Open Place

Open Labour is a positive force within Labour, promoting a socialist left vision for the party that is pluralistic and broad. These are the values that I espouse through my activism, and which I feel are vital for a Labour Party that embraces debate and left pluralism.

While organising in Labour Students and Young Labour, I’ve continually promoted Open Labour and have supported members who share our politics. As a result, there are now OL members running Labour clubs across the country, and members on the national Labour Students committee.

My experience includes Chairing the UCL Labour Society for two years, and being the London Regional Coordinator for Labour Students where I set up the London Labour Students group. I’m passionate about Cooperative politics and am currently the London Rep for the Co-operative Youth, as well as also being on the Scientists for Labour executive.

If elected I would seek for OL to be bolder in its socialist vision for Labour, reaching out and becoming more relevant to members, and influencing debates within the party. I was proud to be endorsed by OL in Labour Students elections, and we should continue to endorse candidates who meet our values.

Phillip Freeman (Cities of London and Westminster) Open Place

This year on the committee I have been in charge of ground campaigns and organising. I organised the seven Open Labour campaign days for the council elections this year, all in ultra-marginal wards. I also authored the plan for Open Labour local groups which I hope will be passed by our AGM. I want to continue what I have been doing this year. An election could be called at any time, and I want to make sure Open Labour has done its bit to campaign for our fantastic PPCs up and down the country. I also want to make sure that OL members who want to set up local groups are supported and encouraged by the national committee. I hope you vote for me.

Rachel Garrick (Newport East) Open and Disabled Places

As a Labour member for 16 years, I have significant experience of the party and campaigning. I have chaired LCFs in two counties and have been vice chair of two constituencies. In the past, I have previously set up and organised a very active Momentum group in the Southeast with great success. My political ideology moved on and I now fully support Open Labour. I have been an active trade unionist since 1999 and have experience of TUC, STUC, WTUC, Labour and Welsh Labour conference as well as my own union’s conference and understand and can drive the formation of policy. As well as organising skills I have excellent campaigning and social media skills.

I would like to return the support that Open Labour has shown me by actively contributing to its management and organisation.

Juliet Harris (Hastings and Rye) Open and LGBT Places

I joined the Labour Party in October 2009 and have actively campaigned throughout that time. Having spent the first 13 years of my life living in Tory Britain, I realised that I needed to do all I could to help to prevent the Tories further damaging the country I love and my loved ones’ lives. This is where my Socialism comes from. Open Labour’s commitment to delivering a Labour Government whilst being literally “open” as to what this should mean makes it my natural home within our movement.

I qualified as a Solicitor in 2009. I was the first in my family to even go to University. I have had to fight my way through an unfamiliar world without the privileges of existing connections, which made me resolute in working to improve the lives of ordinary people in the place where I grew up. I also volunteer as a Trustee of a major Arts venue in Hastings, where I am used to making strategic decisions.

Coming out as a gay woman in my teens has also informed my lifelong fight for social justice for all. I am committed to ensuring that Open Labour is an LGBTQ+ positive organisation.

Steve Lapsley (Derby South) Open Place

As a clinician in the NHS, I have watched with dismay the dismantling and outsourcing of services over the past 8 years and, as a local activist, I have seen similar havoc wrought on vital local services. I am and will remain a passionate advocate for strong public services as a means of delivering progressive social change. My own specific policy interests include mental health, the criminal justice system and housing, and the lack of joined-up thinking in these areas which is having a devastating effect on families and individuals across the country.

I am a senior activist and trainer for the Jewish Labour Movement.

Open Labour needs to reach into the regions to develop its network and help understand the concerns of those in areas like mine, which are feeling left behind by politics in general. The EU Referendum result is still a dominant factor in people’s thinking and voting habits, and Labour’s voice needs to both understand and challenge narratives here. I wish to stand for an open place on the committee, and propose to set up an active Midlands Regional branch.

Tom Miller (Brent Central) Open Place

For two years I have served as co-chair, so I am asking your support to continue building OL together as the locus for open left politics.

Relying on grassroots members for finance has meant it has taken us time to establish ourselves. Nevertheless, this year we campaigned for Labour candidates around the country, held regional and conference events, made two submissions to Labour’s democracy review, joined trade union demonstrations, successfully supported OL members in parliamentary selections, and made the case for a left which takes the ‘kinder, gentler’ ethos seriously.

Open Labour’s biggest barriers are our need for much greater ground organisation and a feeling that we should be a ‘no factions faction’. Rightly, OL calls out abuse and works as a pluralist and democratic force. But I also stand for an organisation which comfortably and unapologetically defines as part of the broad left.

OL should use our renewed tech to shift towards exciting online content, heavy recruitment in CLPs, greater solidarity activity alongside unions, and a new focus on inspiring and recruiting post-2015 members. If we want our politics to be influential, there is no question – we need many more involved and standing with us.

Lynn Morris (Canterbury) Open Place

I am seeking election onto the Open Labour National Committee for a second term to continue with, and build on, the work I already do for Open Labour. My primary focus is on social media operations, so it’s me who mainly oversees the Facebook group and page to ensure it is an abuse-free space for members and supporters to converse and I also contribute to the Twitter account.

In terms of outputs in the last year, I have supported our candidates at national and local level with communications to help them populate social media campaign pages, I check/edit copy for potential candidates and have helped build relationships with individuals to encourage an engaged membership and aid recruitment to events and conferences organised by Open Labour.  I also regularly arrange targeted paid promotion on social media for articles produced by my comrades on the NC.

For the coming year I would like to see our membership become more involved in decision making with our own social media based policy forums and would like to continue to support members, who are keen to set up local branches, make that a reality in 2018/19.

Laura Pascal (Hackney North and Stoke Newington) Open Place

The General Election was a turning point for British politics – with the better than expected results for Labour changing the political context both within the party and the country. Having had the opportunity to be on the management committee for Open Labour, and to be its Secretary for the past year, I am more dedicated than ever to helping to shape a politics that provides a credible socialist alternative to the Tory government and to providing a space for positive and pluralist debate.

I have remained an energetic and active member of my CLP for many years and through the recent period of significant change. Alongside my Open Labour commitments, I have retained CLP roles and have tirelessly campaigned, playing an instrumental role in the campaign which saw Labour gain three seats from the Lib Dems in my ward.

Open Labour has the potential to become an even more influential voice and to grow further as a forum for members who want an unashamedly pro-Europe, socialist party, with zero tolerance for bigotry in any form. I would be honoured to be able to continue to play a role in what promises to be an exciting time for Open Labour.

Ben Tozer (Greenwich and Woolwich) Open Place

Since joining the Labour Party, I have stood to be a county as well as a borough councillor in Surrey and have recently organised local elections in Woolwich Common. Having experienced two extremes – campaigning in a safe Tory and a safe Labour seat – I feel I can bring a breadth of knowledge on how the party can persuade different aspects of the electorate to vote of the party.

Bringing these skills as well as my professional knowledge in PR, I hope to engage Labour voters with Open Labour. With a hope that as an Open Place member, I can work on promoting the work the group does in campaigning for access to the single market and fighting against austerity.

Furthermore, having recently graduated from university and being only 23, I believe that I can raise the profile of young members – and young people more generally to join Open Labour.

Tom Turner (East Surrey) Open and Disabled Places

My name is Tom, and I am 21 years old. I have been a member of the Labour Party since 2015, during which time I have been a council candidate 3 times, served as my CLP’s conference delegate in 2016 and spent a term as Co-Chair of the Oxford University Labour Club: I am also currently a member of the Labour Students Elections Committee.

Outside of the Labour Party, I have served as Chair of my home borough’s Youth Council, President of my 6th Form College’s Students’ Union and Senior Deputy Returning Officer of the Oxford Union Society.

I am now approaching the end of my time at university, and as an autistic person, I am hoping to bring a disabled voice to the table of Open Labour’s Management Committee. As well as strengthening Open Labour’s ties with liberation and youth campaigns across the Labour movement, I would hope to use my position to promote the Open Left to those who are not aware of our work, support Open Labour’s internal election efforts, help facilitate campaigning for our council election candidates, and most of all ensure our ideas are relevant in policy conversations as we approach the next general election.

George Walker (City of Durham) Disabled Place

I’m George, a 21-year old Labour and Trade Union activist in my final year at Durham University and the President-Elect of the Durham Students’ Union. I’m standing as I believe in the politics of the open left and would like to help the organisation thrive.

As Campaigns Officer at my Labour Club, I have lead campaigns for the Labour Party and on campus. I helped send students to marginal seats across the North East in the last two elections, as well as playing a leading role in campaigns for trade union membership among students and against spiralling housing costs and with my union GMB, I have campaigned for a fairer deal for young workers.

As an activist with disabilities, I believe it is vital our internal party structures are accessible for members with disabilities and that disabled activists feel valued. We must build on Labour’s 2017 Disability manifesto, ensuring a Labour Government not only reverses the damage inflicted on disabled people by austerity, but proactively furthers the rights and opportunities available to them. I want Open Labour to be part of this conversation and if elected, I will seek to build links with Disability Labour to make this happen.

Rachael Ward (Hackney South and Shoreditch) Open Place
I see Open Labour as explicitly internationalist, socialist organisation, promoting open critical debate within the party, free from the demands of perceived loyalty to a leader, but rather on the strength of our ideas.

I have served on OL’s National Committee for the past year, and over that time I’ve helped organise events such as conference fringes, fundraisers, and canvassing sessions supporting our members.

I’ve also contributed to our political strategy, particularly in relation to the Democracy Review, our pro-Free Movement, pro-Single Market campaigning on Brexit, and I’ve been delighted to see us start endorsing candidates in internal elections. Indeed, I myself, ran endorsed by OL on an internationalist platform in Young Labour elections this year. To me, practical, political interventions within the Labour party are the bread and butter of what OL should be doing.

My priorities going forward:

  • Increase OL’s diversity
  • Launch series of local discussion groups.
  • Campaign for OL candidates in internal elections and parliamentary selections
  • Produce quality content for our Europe campaign
  • Diversify our media output to include videos, podcasts, infographics etc.

My Experience:

  • OL NC (2017-2018)
  • Unite branch officer (2018 – present)
  • London Young Labour Executive Committee (2015-2016)
  • Co-op Party National Youth Committee (2015-2017)

Tom Williams (Manchester Gorton) Open Place

Open Labour can help our Party to develop a distinctive left-wing and socialist programme for government. That vision is should not be predicated on any individual and must be open and internationalist. I believe that Open Labour should proudly maintain its pro-free movement and single market position.

I have extensive experience in the Labour Party and am currently secretary of one of the largest CLPs outside of London. I am a member of GMB, Socialist Health Association and Scientists for Labour. I am a signatory of the letter launching Open Labour in the Guardian in 2015, and I have served on the National Committee since then. We have successfully held meetings across the country, conferences in London and Manchester, and a host of conference fringes. Over the past year, we have implemented a new membership system to make management of our organisation easier.

Over the next year, we need to do more to engage with our members. In doing so, we can develop our political strategy and impact Labour’s policy and programme. We must connect members better locally. And we should build on our engagement with Labour’s structures, and more confidently endorse candidates that share our vision in internal elections.