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Next year, youth elections will be held for Young Labour. BAME Labour asked young BAME Labour members questions that they wanted to ask the candidates. We forwarded them to candidates for National Chair of Young Labour, the NEC Youth Rep and London Young Labour Chair. Here are their responses. 

Rachael Ward is running for Chair of London Young Labour. 

What will you do to increase the number of BAME exec members on committees?

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London Young Labour doesn’t really do enough to encourage members to stand in elections, particularly those from under-represented caucuses.

This year London Young Labour has hosted weekly forums on a range of issues, and they’ve been a great way for members to feed into how the organisation should work.

Next year I would encourage all Liberation Officers to put together forums or feedback sessions where members can talk about the barriers there are to participation, and direct the committee to act.

LYL also needs to be running forums and campaigning on issues that predominately affect BAME young people. For example, campaigning to tackle the Metropolitan Police Service’s disproportionate use of Stop and Search against young BAME people, and campaigning against the cuts to education that are disproportionately affecting the prospects of young BAME people.

In the run up to our own elections, I also want LYL to be running events targeted at encouraging BAME members to put themselves forward.

How will you diversify socials?

The high percentage of pub-orientated socials in the Labour Party is a big problem. Not only are they off-putting to non-drinkers and under-18s, they can also result in those who don’t want to go drinking missing out on bonding and conversations, which more than just giving a bad case of FOMO, can actually have political ramifications, especially when politics can be so clique driven.

During my time on committee I have consistently argued that no event should take place in a venue where under 18s cannot attend. I have also (unsuccessfully) argued on committee that when we are fortunate to get 3rd party sponsorship for our events this money should not be spent behind the bar, but instead on more inclusive treats like providing free lunch or coffee.

I want LYL to be an inclusive environment for everyone in it, so next year I will make sure we run a range of socials – from film nights, sports, to yes the occasional pub night.

If elected I pledge that all socials should be held in venues where they can be enjoyable regardless of whether you’re drinking, and that our limited funds will not be spent subsiding alcohol, which is by definition exclusionary to large sections of our membership.

12187655_1708344256062220_3224339645157085843_n.jpgWould you consider implementing targets for BAME membership and representation?

Where we have panels and speakers, London Young Labour needs to ensure that the panels are not all white and our speakers are diverse. Beyond this, LYL needs to increase the number of BAME young members active in the organisation at a grassroots level too.

LYL has in effect two kinds of membership – our ‘paper membership’ (which is thousands), and our less-well defined ‘active membership’ or people who turn up to events or express interest in them.

It would be hard for LYL to set targets for our paper membership, as we currently don’t even get access to this data (although I will lobby for this!), but I would like to see us set targets for our active membership.

We currently set up Eventbrite registration for every event that we run, and I would include on the Eventbrite registration forms an optional Diversity and Equality section so that LYL can start proactively monitoring how we are doing in terms of diversity in our active membership.

If we identified patterns of attendance at different events, LYL committee would then be able to investigate why, so that we can take action accordingly.

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What are your views on BAME shortlists?

I’m open to them, but before it became Labour Party policy I would want to know more about details such as how the constituencies are decided and how they interact with All Women Shortlists.

I’m glad it is something that we saw trialled in the in the run-up to the 2015 General Election, in Edmonton.

I also think that in any kind of list system (such European Parliament) Labour should implement BAME quotas (along with a corresponding ‘zipping system’).

Rachael is one of two candidates running for Chair of London Young Labour. To read the other candidate, Ben Butterworth's response, click here. 

Chair candidates for London Young Labour - Rachael Ward

Next year, youth elections will be held for Young Labour. BAME Labour asked young BAME Labour members questions that they wanted to ask the candidates. We forwarded them to candidates for National...

Next year, youth elections will be held for Young Labour. BAME Labour asked young BAME Labour members questions that they wanted to ask the candidates. We forwarded them to candidates for National Chair of Young Labour, the NEC Youth Rep and London Young Labour Chair. Here are their responses. 

Ben Butterworth is running for Chair of London Young Labour. 

What will you do to increase number of BAME exec members?

The number of BAME exec members in Young Labour nationally, and in Young Labour groups, is consistently low. This is particularly striking in London, where the majority of the population is not white British. That’s why, as a start point, I will ban all white panels. We must stop ignoring black and ethnic minority voices in our politics. London is not all white - far from it - so London Young Labour must never be all white, either.

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How will you diversify socials?

There can often be a lack of consideration for different groups when arranging events - such as consistently having socials in pubs, and holding campaigns on Sunday mornings, when some are at church. This needs to change, with socials that are comfortable for non-drinkers. I’m ready to roll out cakes for comrades - just one alternative to the typical drinks social. For socials that are drinks events and dinners, there should be a conscious effort to hold these in a mix of venues that makes members from non-white heritages feel more included. London is ideal for making this happen.

Would you consider implementing targets for BAME membership?

Young Labour doesn’t have access to membership lists, so it’s difficult to keep a track of the figures. There should be monitoring of the diversity of those engaging with the organisation. For example, I have arranged a free visit to the EU parliament, and set a quota of one third places for BAME members, which was met. There must also be a guarantee of a BAME voice on any panel event, and BAME voices at all prominent national events - the people we present as role models must reflect the diversity of identities in our movement.

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What are your views on all BAME shortlists?

There was a notable upturn in BAME  support for the Conservatives at the last general election, while at the same time they selected more BAME candidates in winnable constituencies than Labour did. When 7 in 10 black voters vote Labour, but there are hardly 7 black Labour MPs, we have a problem.

There should be a BAME place reserved on every parliamentary shortlist, and in constituencies with high non-white British populations, the NEC should instruct that at least half of candidates be BAME. There must be quotas on devolved lists that guarantee BAME representation. It also goes right through the ranks of the party: in party HQ, parliamentary staff, the Leader’s office, there must be better representation. The issue of under-representation needs to be resolved in our internal structures as much as in our politicians.

Ben is one of two candidates running for Chair of London Young Labour. To read the other candidate, Rachael Ward's response, click here. 

 

Chair candidates for London Young Labour - Benjamin Butterworth

Next year, youth elections will be held for Young Labour. BAME Labour asked young BAME Labour members questions that they wanted to ask the candidates. We forwarded them to candidates for National...

Next year, youth elections will be held for Young Labour. BAME Labour asked young BAME Labour members questions that they wanted to ask the candidates. We forwarded them to candidates for National Chair of Young Labour, the NEC Youth Rep and London Young Labour Chair. Here are their responses. 

James Elliot is running for NEC Youth Rep. The National Executive Committee (NEC) is the governing body of the Labour Party and is comprised of representatives from the various sections of the Labour movement: CLPs, affiliates, trade unions and politicians. The NEC Youth Rep is the voice of young members, Labour Students and the young trade unionists at the highest level of the Party. 

What will you do to increase no. of BAME exec members?

12191948_10208021974697235_6111325810854405878_n.jpgYoung Labour, like the rest of our party, clearly has a problem with the underrepresentation of BAME members, and so it is important to start by recognising that the issue is one for the whole party and not just Young Labour to confront, and while the equalities academy in January is a great step forwards to addressing some of these issues, but it’s clear we need to do much more. 

If elected, firstly I would like work with the BAME Officer and BAME Labour to conduct a survey of Young Labour members who self-define as BAME to investigate and nail down exactly what barriers exist at each level of representation, and give BAME members themselves the opportunity to put ideas forward for changing this. I’m also proud to be supporting a number of BAME candidates for the national committee this year and I hope they succeed in their efforts to increase BAME representation on the committee. 

Secondly, I think it’s very important that spaces feel welcoming to BAME members, and that means taking a very clear stance against racism in our own spaces. Young Labour needs to be at the forefront of struggles against racism in our society, and not be afraid to call it out wherever we see it. 

How will you diversify socials?

I think it’s important to note that we have a real problem in the Labour Party with social events, and by extension political events, being oriented around a drinking culture and that leads to excluding people. I’d like to work with the BAME officer and BAME Labour in planning how we can ensure that spaces at our events are more accessible to all our members, and that may mean that some events need to change.  

We need to make sure that Young Labour socials offer a variety of things, and aren’t held in places which prevent some young members from attending.  

Would you consider implementing targets for BAME membership?

100%, yes. Without targets to achieve equal representation for all underrepresented groups we’ll struggle to measure how well our efforts are succeeding.

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What are your views on BAME shortlists? 

Anyone who looks at the fantastic record of All-Women Shortlists in increasing women’s representation in parliament will know how successful they have been - and I’d definitely support wider use of BAME shortlists for candidates to ensure our party is more representative. That said, we have to look at the deeper structural issues that prevent BAME representation in the party.

James is one of two candidates running for NEC Youth Rep. To read the other candidate, Jasmin Beckett's response, click here. 

 

 

NEC Youth Rep Candidate - James Elliot

Next year, youth elections will be held for Young Labour. BAME Labour asked young BAME Labour members questions that they wanted to ask the candidates. We forwarded them to candidates for National...

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