Tag Archives: young liberals

Young Liberals launch Young & Winning 2019 to support young candidates

It’s no secret that this year is going to be big for us Liberal Democrats, and the Young Liberals are no exception.

Last year, we provided thousands to young candidates across the country. We contributed to getting some fantastic young councillors elected, now serving their community.

In 2019 we’re doing the same with more support to elect young councillors. The aim is to give young people the community voice which they deserve and need.

This support can range from grants for literature to subsidised action days and more.

In 2018, we supported almost every candidate that applied. In almost every case, young candidates we supported saw increase in vote share. Many were successful in their bids, some came within less than 10 votes of taking their ward.

It’s clear to me that we need more young voices in local government. It’s clear that we can make that happen, and it’s imperative that we do.

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The past can be useful

My wife, Ruth, has had a collection of boxes, originally some 30 strong, in which she stored both personal and political stuff, waiting for the opportune moment to open them and sort out the treasure trove within.

That job is now underway and there are minutes of both NLYL and ULS as well as a huge collection of newsletters produced by all manner of Liberal activists in the late sixties and seventies. Radical Bulletin, Gunfire, New Outlook, Liberator and a whole raft of local stuff from Young Liberal and Liberal Student groups from Scotland to Cornwall. It even included some copies of Clockwork Orange, a Manchester ULS publication that I started in 1971/2 and that was then carried on by Pat Coleman.

Political discourse in the 60s and 70s was carried out by meeting and pamphlet.

Ruth reminded me that Young Liberal branches often met weekly to discuss politics and campaigns, actually campaigned most weekends and met up socially as well.

There were frequent conferences on political issues and both the Young Liberals and the Liberal Party had council meetings on a regular basis (the ‘Council’ was the policymaking body between Conferences), primarily on political issues.

Liberal Party Constituency and branch meetings were at least monthly. In short, our politics centred on meeting together, talking about ideas and putting them down on paper for discussion in order to get out and campaign together.

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The Liberal Democrats are part of ALDE, and will stay a part of ALDE

Two weeks ago liberals from across Europe gathered together in Madrid to debate policy, receive training and pass a new manifesto for next year’s European Parliament elections. This new manifesto reflects the commitment of liberals from across the EU to our shared European values. It is a manifesto which seeks to bring all Europeans together; and because of the efforts of European Liberal Youth (LYMEC)’s delegation, it reflects the views and aspirations of young people from across the continent. Indeed, there were few delegations as active or as well prepared as LYMEC’s.

At …

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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.

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Working together – What I learned at the LYMEC’s Young Leaders Summit

Three weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend the Young Leaders’ Meeting in Budapest hosted by European Liberal Youth (LYMEC). The aim of the weekend was to work on LYMEC’s manifesto for the upcoming European elections, as well as to make contacts and receive valuable training on campaigning and leadership.

Our first evening was comprised mostly of introductions, both to each other and to each other’s national political situations. The president of youth wing of the Hungarian liberal movement Momentum welcomed us, highlighting how hard it was to be liberal openly in the current situation in Hungary, with a far right prime-minister and government. He also spoke about the sacrifices he had to give personally in order to promote liberal and Eurocentric politics in Hungary. Throughout the weekend, we heard emotional and inspiring stories from various national leaders and members of the bureau; for example, LYMEC’s policy officer, Antoaneta Asenova, spoke about the countdown to Bulgaria joining the EU and how the national bank displayed a countdown timer, emphasising the support for a European and outward-looking country. It seemed a harsh contrast to many of the Brexit countdown timers we have at the moment in the UK, and it reinforced that now, more than ever, we need to work with our European allies in order to continue to promote internationalism in the UK and  also how fundamental Europe is to our vision as liberals.

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Young Liberals launch the biggest recruitment campaign of the year

Every year, the Liberal Democrats turn to the Young Liberals to launch and run one of the party’s biggest recruitment events – the Freshers campaign.

In this campaign, Young Liberals (formerly Liberal Youth) across the country will descend upon their Students Unions to attend Freshers Fairs and recruit new young and student members. Our largest branches enjoyed hundreds signing up for mailing last year.

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Young Liberals To Host European Liberal Youth Congress In 2019

Next year is a big year for the UK. With our exit from the EU set to happen at the end of March, Britain is all but guaranteed to see its influence in the world declined. The fact of the reality is that outside of the EU, the United Kingdom matters far less in world politics than we did as a member of it. Unfortunately, this is also true for the Liberal Democrats. Leaving the EU not only deprives us of the opportunity to elect MEPs, but also places us in an awkward position within ALDE. No longer a member of the EU, but still able to influence its policies.

While many in our sister parties recognise that the Liberal Democrats is a party of committed Europeans, Brexit has still changed the way they view us. In last year’s ALDE bureau elections, for the first time, no Lib Dem was elected. While within European Liberal Youth (LYMEC), there are clear signs of anti-British feeling because of the Brexit vote coming from some of its members.

Fortunately, there are many within both ALDE and LYMEC who recognise that Young Liberals and the Liberal Democrats are committed Europeans. That is why I am delighted to announce that Young Liberals will be hosting LYMEC’s Autumn Congress in 2019.

The LYMEC Bureau believes that this is an opportunity for our fellow young European liberals to show support and unity with Young Liberals here in the UK. With LYMEC President, Svenja Hahn telling Young Liberals:

Brexit has become the synonym for insecurity and uncertainty. In times like these liberals have to unite and stand up for each other and our shared values. We want to bring our autumn 2019 congress to the UK to show that the European young liberals will stand with our British friends in European solidarity!

I couldn’t agree more.

As we battle against the increasingly extreme, nationalist and illiberal politics we are seeing in the Labour and the Conservatives, it is more important than ever that we maintain a strong and independent liberal British voice internationally. With around 130 delegates from 33 European countries coming to the UK, next year’s Autumn Congress allows Young Liberals to do just that.

Posted in Op-eds | 5 Comments

The Young Liberals need to take themselves more seriously… and the party does too

When I joined the party eight years ago I was surprised at the disdain some held for the Young Liberals (formerly Liberal Youth). Infighting, popularity contests and a distinct lack of coherent long-term objectives are all things which have came to epitomise the Young Liberals, and sadly much of that is true.

Our party can be daunting for young members so when I joined the party back in 2010 the thing which kept me involved was the youth wing. The knowledge that, somewhere within the party, there was a person not too dissimilar from me who was able to speak out …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | 9 Comments

Book Review – Power to the People: Confessions of a Young Liberal Activist 1975 – 1987 by Felix Dodds

Felix Dodds, who was Chair of the National League of Young Liberal (NLYL) 1985-1987 and led the so-called Green Guard, inheritors of the late 60s/early 70s YLs Red Guard mantle, wrote this book to inspire and give hope to today’s young people at a time when politics seems a much more cynical and jaded business than the last time we had a Tory female Prime Minister and were arguing about Europe.

Dodds ‘confessions’ tell of his involvement with the YLs starting as a 6th former in Hertfordshire, having been inspired by the Kennedy …

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Young Liberals react to Universities strike

Teachers and professors are amongst the most trusted and respected professions in the UK, so says IPSOS Mori’s 2017 Veracity Index. Changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the pension scheme serving over 190,000 university staff in 92 higher education institutions, have shown no respect for lecturers and professors, alienating a huge number of academic staff and lowering morale on campus by asking them to do the same amount of work for less money.
Young Liberals, the youth and student wing of the Liberal Democrats, voted in their Winter Conference to support an emergency motion calling for Universities UK …

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Fresh Faces and Fresh Ideas: Join the Liberal Youth Freshers’ Fair Campaign

It’s that time of year to start thinking about Freshers’ fairs. The party’s new Youth and Student Development Officer, Vicky Nevin, told us about this year’s plans:

Freshers’ Fairs are a great way to engage new young members with the Liberal Democrats. The effort and enthusiasm young people can bring to the party is incredibly beneficial; they provide fresh ideas to old problems and spark energy into local campaigns.

Time is of the essence to begin preparations as deadlines for booking stalls at Universities/Colleges and their Students’ Unions are fast approaching. The date of Freshers’ Fairs differs from one institution to another, but they are usually held in late September. If you have a Lib Dem student society/group at your local HE/FE site, find out what they have planned, offer support and, if nothing is planned, try to encourage some activity. Contact details for Liberal Youth Societies are available here. If you do not have a Lib Dem student society/group, try to make contact with the Student Union and see if you can set something up. It will be a great shame if we miss this brilliant opportunity to recruit and motivate young people.

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  • User AvatarHelen Dudden 21st Feb - 10:30am
    I would leave it in the hands of those, who know more about the subject. Like many others, I have said no.
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 21st Feb - 10:27am
    @ expats, I don't doubt Heidi Allen's sincerity, I said nothing about her judgement. She is relatively new to politics and probably did not have...
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    If Brexit happens, the vagueness and non-binding nature of the political declaration means that it's all to play for on the future relationship. No point...
  • User Avatarexpats 21st Feb - 10:02am
    David Raw 20th Feb '19 - 10:15pm.............Well, expats, just for once we’ll have to disagree..... No problem, David. We, and Jayne, agree on far more...
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  • User AvatarPaul Hunt 21st Feb - 9:58am
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