Author Archives: Erin Yarrow

Erin is a party member and currently a non-portfolio officer for the Young Liberals

Young Liberals need reform – and we need your help!

Young people play a vital role in the party. Beyond our ability to deliver vast sums of leaflets, or to liven up that local party picture, we shape the Liberal Democrats. We stand for public office; we lobby for youth issues and representation, we ensure that as society changes the party changes with it. However, lately the boundaries of who is young have changed, and the Young Liberals need to change too. That is why we are looking at possible structural reforms, including raising the automatic membership age cut off from 26 to 30.

No longer can even the luckiest of us expect a job straight out of education; more and older graduates have to turn to internships for work. As house prices skyrocket, moving out of the parental home is taking longer. Moreover, with the tendency to remain in education, even the culture and lifestyle associated with youth has come to be applied to a broader age range. With these changes in society, the political landscape has changed too. The needs of those preparing to leave school and the needs of those in their late twenties are more closely aligned than ever before. Ending long-term unpaid work, tackling the housing crisis, improving representation in education, and increasing funding for mental health care are just some examples of policies that would have a disproportionate impact on all of us under 30.

However, the Young Liberals as an organisation has been struggling to represent these needs. It is no secret that we have suffered deepening institutional memory problems as a result of these societal changes. Students now make up such a large part of our constituent members that it’s hard for us to develop a network capable of serving our school leavers and young professions. Our lives have also become more defined by instability – such as moves abroad or in and out of education. These sudden radical changes in circumstances can render members unable to contribute in the way they have done before, and so the consistency in the quality of our work has taken a hit. By virtue of our membership and structure it is getting pretty tough to run ourselves well, and if Young Liberals as an organisation cannot run well then all our members whether in their twenties or still in their teens lose out.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged | 16 Comments
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