Daniel Oliver is an active Labour Party campaigner and the current Youth Officer for Stockport Constituency Labour Party (CLP), at the end of last year he was elected as the Chair of the new Stockport Young Labour group. In this article he talks about the group and the importance of engaging with young people.
Last year our Party carried out a national consultation aimed at improving engagement with young members and with young people as a whole. In Stockport we organised an informal discussion event to gather the views of local members and to feed in to this consultation. As well as discussing other issues that are important to young people, the key message from the event was that younger generations feel removed from the decision-making processes in our Party and in our communities.
It was therefore agreed that an official Young Labour group in Stockport would be of benefit to local young people, with the group being specifically designed to engage them in decision making, policy discussions and campaign activities. After liaising with North West regional office and the four constituencies in Stockport borough, we were able to launch Stockport Young Labour in December at Seven Miles Out, a local arts centre. All young members were encouraged to attend the event and to nominate themselves for positions on the group’s first committee.
As 2017 begins, I am delighted with the initial response that we have received from young members. With new members coming forward to take on committee positions and the group having held and supported successful campaign events, Stockport Young Labour is already making a positive difference to our local Party. I am particularly proud of the diversity on our committee, with BAME and LGBT representation as well as a gender balance of male and female members.
The group’s committee will be meeting soon to discuss our plans for the year, with these set to include some exciting ideas. In particular we will be looking to deliver regular campaign and training activities for young members, supporting the Labour Group on Stockport Council and participating in Andy Burnham’s mayoral campaign.
It is more important than ever that young people have a voice in our society. With pressure to conform to a socially acceptable standard and to thrive academically, with the growing difficulty of owning or even renting your own home and with a shockingly high rate of mental health problems in young people, a strong voice is needed to speak up and campaign for positive change in our communities. I am confident that over the coming months and years, Stockport Young Labour will be in a strong position to work with local Labour campaigners and representatives to deliver this change, representing all young people across our borough regardless of their background and political views.
Stockport Young Labour is a step towards rebuilding public trust in Labour’s policies and values; by engaging with, and politically educating young people in schools and colleges, out in the community and online, we can present our Party as it really is- one of equality and opportunity.