Monday, 16 May 2011

Why is Liberal Youth important?

Why does politics seem so far away from the youth’s problems of today? This is the question that I ask myself when I see young people hanging around in the park, on the streets and in shopping centres looking aimless.

Yet, last year we saw thousands of students demonstrating against the rise in tuition fees. There was fury in the air and they had an aim-to get the Government to leave the cap as it was. These demonstrations were a rare display of mass youth participation in politics and showed that youth do have the ability to give an opinion on political subjects. This is the paradox of youth politics.

So, how do we get the youth to participate in politics? Last year during the general election my house was used as a campaign base for our local candidate. There were dozens of youth who came from Goldsmiths University and other places to help out. For many of them this was the first connection they had made with politics. One of them who didn’t have a job or a college place even said that helping to campaign gave him a purpose to get up in the morning. I saw how these young people were really passionate about getting involved.

How do we sustain this interest so it doesn’t happen only once every five years? I can offer ideas about the under 16s because I am 11 years old. Holding political awareness days at schools would be a good start. Children get really excited when there is a day that takes them away from the normal routine of schoolwork so the children will be really happy to get involved in these political days. The problem will be that the interest will not continue beyond the day and the children will not keep in touch with politics. My suggestion is that we give the school little packs of information which the children can take away and look at. If we include a little key ring or a toy, that will increase their interest and motivation level. Children normally see politics as being boring so if we can do anything to make them more interested then that must be done. At conference I walk around the exhibition halls myself picking up freebies so I know what I am talking about.

For the over 16s we need to talk about how Liberal Youth needs to energise young people because after the bad AV and local elections defeat we need a progressive movement badly. This is where the youth can play a strong part in politics. A progressive movement is important to youth today because the economy has produced inequalities like fewer jobs for young people, unpaid internships and university option.

by Maelo Manning (libdemchild)

Friday, 8 April 2011

Report on LY Conference

On Saturday April 2nd, young liberals gathered in Bristol for Spring Conference, in a new 1-day format. With a packed agenda, we debated policy, delivered and received training on a variety of topics (including canvassing and AV), enjoyed a lively panel discussion featuring Tessa Munt MP, Duncan Hames MP, Stephen Williams MP, and leader of Bristol City Council Barbara Janke, and voted in radical constitutional reforms. The effect of these reforms changes the structure of the Liberal Youth Executive, and improves on the way we interact with members, allowing more Branch and Regional control and dialogue. The new streamlined executive committee will be easier to manage, having removed the VC Membership Development position, several redundant committees replacing them with dedicated officers, and reduced the number of G.E.M.s (now called Non-portfolio officers) from 8 to 2, and should enjoy a greater efficiency when it comes to the running of Liberal Youth, meaning more time can be spent acting on campaigns and canvassing. Nominations for the new executive will be announced shortly.

Conference heard reports from the executive on the work that has been done, including branch development, campaigns work, a riveting financial report, and our relationship with the Federal Party (which, we are told, has gotten increasingly cordial). Quite understandably, a lot of our time at the start of the term had been taken up dealing with tuition fees, but now we are able to focus more on other areas, such as the various officer portfolios and projects the Executive have taken on.

As always, we had some very interesting debates. Three policies were on the agenda, and I am happy to say all three passed. The motion on the AV referendum solidifies our position to fight for a Yes! vote in May to bring in fairer votes. We also passed policy committing Liberal Youth to campaign for a fairer deal for International Students and their dependants, and to urge the government to bring in measures to better protect Asylum seekers and give them a fair hearing.

Of all the issues debated, it was naturally the Constitutional Amendment on National Restructure that caused the most stir, and took the most time! With two amendments to debate (keeping policy committee and modifying how state parties work) and procedural motions flying everywhere, it was nearly a full hour before the motion finally passed, with both amendments.

As the 1-day format had never before been tried, it was a hectic day, but fortunately we finished on time, and did not have to cut any agenda items. We heard parting words from Stephen Kearney MP, Stephen Gilbert MP and Liberal Youth Chair Martin Shapland. Bidding is now open for Autumn conference, so if you fancy hosting, contact for a bid form. The next major event Liberal Youth are hosting is Activate, our flagship training conference which will be this summer (more details to follow soon). I hope to see you there

By Stuart Brown
General Executive Member


Welcome to this news blog site, designed to take posts and comments from members of Liberal Youth. While I am sure that executive members will contribute from tim to time, this site is intended to be for members, not a mouthpiece for the executive.

If you want to share opinions on LY, the party as whole, Government policy, great campaigning ideas, or anything else that takes your fancy it will be published here. E-mail a post to be published and your membership number to and i'll put it up, the only editing will for typos.

No swearing, offensive language, slander, or anything that could lead LY or the party into legal trouble wil be permitted in posts or comments. Apart from those basics, it is up to the LY membership to decided what goes up here and when. I would though ask fo respectful and polite debate, in keeping with the proud Lib Dem history of internal democracy.

Since the forums shut, LY members have been looking for a new place to share ideas and opinions. I do hope you enjoy, utilise, and find benefit in this new facility.

Charlotte Henry
Vice Chair Communications