Disclaimer: It’s late (I have to be up in 5 hours), I’m tired and I’m attempting to write this in the dark without my glasses on – don’t be surprised if bits of it make no sense
The more I muse on the exact nature of the Young Labour elections, the more annoyed I become. Well, maybe more frustrated than annoyed, but some feeling that’s vaguely uncomfortable and unpleasant.
There are rumblings from all corners and all regions about unfairness and lack of information and whatnot, but the process of electing the Chair is one which has been pre-occupying me for some time now (see previous posts).
The very idea that you can run for Chair without being elected first throws up several very annoying problems.
Firstly, that you might not get elected. What if – although best candidate of those up for the role – you have stiff competition within your region or somebody else has the backing of an entire regional group and, for whatever reason, you lose? What if all candidates lose their regions – what happens then?
Secondly, if you swing this the other way? It gives you an unfair advantage in your region. All CLPs are sent information and candidates are (and rightly so) canvassing members throughout the country to get their support as, ultimately, they have to have confidence in the person representing them. But Rep candidates don’t have the advantage of hustings, or meetings, so when it comes to people getting their ballot papers they may already be familiar with one name on the list – even if they don’t think they are suitable for chair, they have had a chance to make a connection with them in some form.
Now you may think, because I’m standing to be London Rep against one of those in the running that theis is clearly an exercise in bitterness/sour grapes – and you can think that, I’m a big girl now and I can take the criticism – but actually this has come about because I want to vote for one of my fellow Regional opponents.
The most frustrating thing of all is, based on the manifestos of both people running to be Chair, I would vote for the very person standing against me. A person who I would have complete faith and confidence in were they to get the job. So no matter what anybody else thinks, I really do hope that she doesn’t see this as any sort of attack against her. After all, she’s just caught in the same ridiculous system we all are.
But then, unless I am a delegate, I can’t vote – and this, above all else, is my biggest problem. We are not the new generation at all, are we? Let’s be honest – Young Labour use a system even more regressive than the PLP and country as a whole.
Every constituent gets to vote in their MP. Exactly the same as electing a Rep, which is fine. But when it comes to electing our ‘leader’, where’s the democracy? Why are the individual members of Young Labour not given the chance to make their own choice on who is chosen? A conference of a couple of hundred people does not make up for this, especially as they are going on behalf of their CLPs (many of which aren’t YL) in some cases to nominate a person/persons chosen beforehand.
I can’t imagine this to be the type of new generation Ed Miliband envisaged, can you?
We aren’t the bright young things waiting in the wings, we’re the past rearing its ugly, regressive head, fraught with notions of left, right, internal-politiking and one-upmanship. The group where external influences and groups try to tell people exactly how they should vote – for the good of the party, obviously, which they seem to think is a decision we couldn’t possibly make on our own.
It’s just not right to say we are the future, that we believe in grassroots, only to have a system full of more red-tape and bureaucracy than the generation which precedes us.
This is long, rambly and, probably, includes me talking quite a lot of bollocks. But we all know something went wrong in the past 13 years, and we all know that a lot of things need to change.
And one of those things is us.