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.
Caroline Hill is running for National Chair of Young Labour. The Chair of Young Labour coordinates the work of Young Labour and helps to set a direction for the organisation.
What will you do to increase number of BAME exec members?
Young Labour needs an empowered, active and supported BAME campaign, working in close partnership with BAME Labour. This currently exists, but as chair, I will push for more resources to allow the BAME committee to run its own campaigns, events and regularly liaise with YL through their officer. Honestly, every area of Young Labour could thrive if the organisation was more autonomous, was better resourced and had more power over its direction.
Through having an engaging and relevant BAME campaign, I believe that more BAME members will run for positions within Young Labour as a whole, which is what we desperately need.
Would you consider implementing targets for BAME membership?
Young Labour national committee is not currently able to access the membership data of young members. The party youth officer is able to feed back to us about this information, but the Youth Officer is often hard worked on other projects, and doesn’t solely work for Young Labour. This makes projects like this something done on the side by party staff, out of our hands and makes it very difficult to really understand the demographics of our membership, let alone to set targets.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Targets would be tricky to set up and follow through on, but a strong effort on increasing BAME membership, by throwing events and running campaigns which speak to potential BAME members would be one of my priorities.
How will you diversify socials?
Socials at Young Labour events tend to be best when they allow everyone to get involved. Socials held in pubs or bars can exclude many members, often BAME members and under 19s, but this is usually what is offered by Young Labour. There is not currently an officer on the Young Labour national committee with any brief to organise or regulate the socials that we hold at our national events – this is something that we should look in to so that there is someone who are make sure that our socials are varied, accessible and diverse.
What are your views on BAME shortlists?
All women’s shortlists have been an excellent way of ensuring that more women now sit in Parliament, even if parity in the Parliamentary Labour Party hasn’t been achieved yet. If BAME representation continues to be disproportionate, then I don’t see why the Labour Party shouldn’t start looking in to it.
Caroline is one of two candidates running for Young Labour Chair. To read the other candidate, Rachel Megan Barker's response, click here.