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Change needs young people

This article is part of a series of articles written by candidates for the Progress strategy board elections. The publishing of this article is not an endorsement of the candidate. You can read Adam Freeman’s candidate statement here

Getting more young people involved in local Labour parties key to getting rid of this ‘tired Tory administration’, argues Adam Freeman

It is commonly mentioned in any rural Labour political party, many young people are happy to vote for Labour, even to be Labour members, and to promote the Party on social media – but too many are unwilling to get involved or become active in their constituency Labour parties and campaigning activities, but why?

One of they key barriers to young people getting involved is a belief that they are not qualified enough on all of the terms and history of the party to get involved, alongside an inability to commit long-term to their respective CLP. Many CLPs are only able to keep running through the older and younger – usually students in filling roles with branches and CLPs – this is certainly true in the CLP I am in. The new focus on them standing for roles, not only youth rep, but with the democracy review seeing the promotion of a number of reps becoming CLP roles with voting powers (i.e disability and BAME officers), offers a whole range of roles that will enable them to feel part of a movement and part of the Labour family.

Speaking to people outside of your CLP through social media, photos and videos of members and candidates campaigning in their respective seats not only encourages other members to get involved, it shows Labour has support locally and is willing to engage with local residents. Promoting delegates to annual women and regional conferences is a another step in expanding their horizons and allowing them to feel confident enough to apply for greater responsibility in their local parties. This is one of the reasons why I am standing in the youth section of the strategy board elections and hope to represent all young members with the main aim to as soon as possible have a Labour government.

In the 2017 county council elections in our area I was happy to be election agent for all seven candidates. As a young person myself (24 at the time), I was keen to have as many young candidates as possible. As a constituency that has no county councillors, and none since 2009, the advantage of pushing for new and different candidates is easier to achieve. Not only was there a percentage increase in terms of female and BAME candidates, but there was also a wish to have a fair representation of youth candidates. In the end, alongside myself, we had two young candidates stand. Not only would we both stand again but it gave a clear message to the other young members that change can only happen when you are willing to stand up. We are currently on track to stand our largest district candidates and youth percentage for next year’s district council elections: promoting a progressive change to the tired Tory administration currently in charge.

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Adam Freeman is a candidate in the Progress strategy board elections youth section. You can read his candidate statement here

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