Caroline Hill: What I Will Do as Young Labour’s Chair

By Caroline Hill / @__carolinaaaa


Last month, in a room in Scarborough, I was absolutely delighted to be elected Chair of Young Labour. Sixty percent of those at the conference decided to cast their ballot for me and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

Things happened in Scarborough that are more appropriate for the classroom I teach in than a national conference, and there are serious allegations too that I insist the Labour party run a full, independent, far reaching inquiry into. If Baroness Royall has the scope to do that inquiry, I welcome that with open arms.

To be crystal clear, I was elected to lead Young Labour and that’s precisely what I’ll do. By the time the next conference rolls around we’ll have learned the lessons from Scarborough but we’ll also have moved on significantly. Let me explain how we’re going to do it.

Young Labour members have elected a fantastic committee of enthusiastic and inspiring young campaigners, but we all know we’ve got a lot of work to do.

Delighted as I am, the problem is that I was elected in a room in Scarborough. Over 99 per cent of our swelling membership was locked out of conference and our democracy, stopped from using their voice to decide the path to be followed by for their Young Labour.

The first step towards moving on is coming good on my promise that One Member One Vote is going to happen. If it’s good enough for NEC elections, NPF election and leadership elections it’s certainly good enough for Young Labour. It should never again be the contents of one’s purse rather than their passion that determines whether a young member take part.

Young Labour is the youth wing of a political party, so it’s time we get political. As pointed out at the weekend in a speech, in 2015, a year that included the devastation of May 8th as well as sea change in September, Young Labour published only three articles on its website.

We should be taken seriously by our party. The policy we pass at our conference shouldn’t be shelved the minute it’s over. When our MPs are voting on an issue that affect us – like slashing young people’s benefits, or cutting nurses bursaries or when the Tories are bombing Syria or attacking trade union rights. Where is Young Labour? Our organisation should not be silent – we should standing in the interests of our members even if it means standing up to our Party when needed.

Let’s change, let’s be a Young Labour where we learn, we debate and we grow together, not at one another’s throats, but as the comrades we are – although too often forget.

There’s no entrance exam to the Labour party. Members don’t usually arrive with a politics degree; they join because they’re passionate and it should be our obligation to take that passion and develop it.

So watch out for our regional and local political education courses, where we come together, we learn, we think, we discuss and we debate, not for the sake of it but for the purpose of building our solidarity. It’s through education we break down the tags and labels of Blairite or Bennite because at the end of the day we want the same thing – a Labour government.

There is so much knowledge and talent in our ranks, from trade union representatives to doctors and from people who work in business to those who work for charities. We reflect the society we want to represent and support – can you for one moment imagine the Tories having this sort of demographic? – so let’s make the most of that by cooperating, sharing to grow our party together.

The good news is that Young Labour is growing. We’ve got a membership passionate about social justice and they’re raring to go but in too many parts of the country the options to organise are disappointingly few. It’s the CLP meeting or nothing.

I’ve been inundated with members asking for support to set up local Young Labour groups so on the to-do list is a step-by-step guide to make this as easy as possible. I’ve set myself a target at 100 Young Labour groups by the end of my term, which is ambitious but we’ll achieve it. And when a young person joins us I intend to ensure that there is a buoyant Young Labour group on their doorstep.

The talent within Young Labour is amazing. We’ve the skills to be blazing a trail, using new campaign tactics, bringing ideas alive on the web, pioneering social media that people won’t want to miss and running campaign days in every region.

I have spent three years organising events in key seats, where I made sure that travel and accommodation was fully covered. I’ll not only deliver this again, but work with the party to expand it.

But I intend that we will be about more than just the doorstep. Watch out for Young Labour campaigns on campuses and in our communities.

When a young voter sees an injustice they should turn to Young Labour to change it and we’re going to be happy to help.

So changes are coming to Young Labour, it’s going to be a lot of work but it’s going to be great. Are you in?


Caroline Hill is the new Young Labour Chair


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