The South East region: Increasing youth membership is essential for political survival.

Tilly Russell and I were elected as the new Young Liberals (YL) Regional Chairs for the South East; the first thing that we would like to say is a huge ‘thank you’ to everybody that voted for us.

For us both, the region is one of those places that is close to our hearts. Both Tilly and I have lived here for the whole of our lives, it is and always has been our home. We’ve both worked here, studied here and campaigned here. We are both truly honoured that we were chosen to represent it, increasing youth engagement is essential for political survival.

Like us, if you too live in the South East region, you will feel the same. However, this feeling alone is not enough. It is now time to put our feelings into action, we need to carry on fighting for what we believe in. We not only want to re-light a flame that has seemingly disappeared in some areas, but instead start a fire. I know that this is a bold statement to make but we truly believe that it is possible.

And we, as the South East Young Liberals, have started to do that already. The above picture shows some of the successes that we’ve had. These include candidates standing in by-elections, campaigning for a Peoples Vote and organising the biggest Fresher’s campaign yet. 

During the election campaign, Tilly and I created a manifesto explaining how we would go about doing just that. It centres around three core pledges: more events; increased online development and, most importantly, empowering the membership.

The truth is that, in order to both fully and effectively achieve all of these things, we need every local party in the South East to help us. As a local party, all that we are asking is that you to do three things. I would like to emphasise that none of these things are mandatory, they would just help us to access our current membership situation.

The first is that you pass on our contact details to any local YL members (anyone under the age of 26) that you currently have/gain, our contact details will available at the end of this article. We ask you to do this as it will allow us to keep in contact with the youth wing of the party. From experience, getting involved with your regional branch of YL can dramatically enhance a young person’s experience with the party.

The second is that you email us about any local campaigns that you are running. This will allow us to make party members aware of the campaign whilst also helping to advertise it, ultimately building up its momentum and increasing the likelihood of it being successful.

Lastly, we would ask you to send us the names of any target wards and the name of the candidates that are standing. This will allow us to hopefully plan YL events in the most winnable target wards. To further add to this, if you have a YL member standing (even as a paper candidate) please could you send us the above and please disclose this to us. As regional chairs, Tilly and I would make it a priority to support as many young candidates as possible. It is essential that you do this as soon as possible (preferably the 23rd of this month) in order for us to meet some of the deadlines which enable us to apply for additional funding.

We look forward to working with the English Young Liberals, the South East executive and of course the ordinary members of the region. We would also like to thank everyone that has supported/contacted us so far and we hope that, during our term, we can help to drive the change that the South East needs to thrive.

* Jasneet Samrai is the current Equalities Spokesperson for Centre Think Tank and the Vice-Chair of Liberals For EFTA. She is also a Former Member of the South East Regional Executive. @wildandwriting

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  • David Warren 13th Nov '18 - 6:27pm

    Great for us older liberals to see such enthusiasm.

    The South East should be fertile territory for the Lib Dems in next years elections where in many places the party is the main challenger to the Tories.

    I hope to see plenty of young Lib Dem candidates standing across the region.

    Good luck.

  • Good article and exciting ambitions for the South-East!

  • Sue Sutherland 14th Nov '18 - 11:03am

    Very encouraging to hear what you are doing.

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