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The Houses of Parliament are more diverse than ever before. Increases in the numbers of self-identifying women, BAME, LGBT and disabled MPs on the Labour benches are to be applauded. However, there’s still more we must do. Our government must be representative of the society it serves and in 2017, we’re still far from that reality.

 

Although we celebrate the election of two new self-identifying disabled Labour MPs we must recognise that this falls well short of representing the make-up of our society. The election of both Marsha de Cordova in Battersea and Jared O’Mara in Sheffield Hallam brings the total number of disabled MPs up to five. That means that one in one hundred and thirty MPs defines as disabled, whereas one in five people in the UK have a disability

 

As the Labour Party we understand that diversity is strength but we must do more to break down barriers and actively empower disabled people at all levels of government. Different perspectives and life experiences make for a stronger Parliament and stronger legislature. Disabled MPs help to break down barriers for disabled people across the UK because there is no one more qualified to advocate for the rights of or speak on the experiences of disabled people than a disabled MP.

 

There’s a few things that are imperative change to make the Labour Party more accessible on a local and national level. Our events must be fully accessible, from huge national rallies to CLP meetings the needs of our disabled activists must be listened to. Together we need to put an end to socials held up a flight of stairs and knocking on doors being seen as the only way young people can engage in activism and fight for a Labour government.

 

Not only must we always work to create an accessible environment so that people aren’t shut out of all the fantastic things we do as a party we must ensure that there is always a positive atmosphere that welcomes new and returning members equally. When I launched a consultation into the barriers that prevent our disabled members from engaging with Young Labour, experiences of online abuse came up. Whilst debate and discussion are an essential part of our party regardless of our differences we must treat one another with respect and kindness even when we disagree.

 

Disabled activists - as with all activists - should never be prevented from getting involved in the Labour Party for fear of insults or intimidation. And when it comes to actively encouraging our disabled members to participate in our activities, we must think of new ways to support our activists inside and outside of Labour Party spaces, from running mentoring schemes and public speaking training to increasing confidence to actively implement self-care strategies to prevent activist burn-out, which I’ve seen in so many of our members.

 

The Labour Party and Young Labour is ahead of the curve in many ways compared to the rest of society, but there’s still so much work left to do and as Young Labour’s Disabled Members’ Officer I want to work with you to continue breaking down these barriers.

 

If you want ideas of how to make your local Young Labour group more accessible please get in touch with the Young Labour National Committee!

 

Miriam Mirwitch

Young Labour Disabled Members' Officer

How we are working to actively empower disabled people

The Houses of Parliament are more diverse than ever before. Increases in the numbers of self-identifying women, BAME, LGBT and disabled MPs on the Labour benches are to be applauded....

Is this your first polling day or are you a seasoned pro? Regardless of how many times you have campaigned before, these tips from NEC Youth Representative Jasmin Beckett will help you have a successful polling day.

How long does a polling day operation last?

Polls open at 7am and close at 10pm on polling day in the UK. However, a typical polling day can start at 6am with an ‘early morning leaflet drop’ – this is when we deliver leaflets to people’s doors so that when they wake up they are quickly reminded it is polling day.

After this the team will usually grab a quick breakfast and at around 10am we start knocking on our first doors. The purpose of polling day campaigning is to knock on the doors of people who have told us they are Labour voters, that’s why you may hear members calling it ‘get out the vote’ (GOTV).

Campaigning will then go on until around 9pm when we knock our final doors. If you are not comfortable knocking or are unable to due to an access issue just let the organiser know and they will be able to set up some phone banking (calling voters) or leafletting for you.

Also, just because we campaign from 6am – 10pm on polling day it doesn’t mean you have to stay for all of it, some members come for an hour after work and others stay for the whole thing. Do as much as you feel like.

Where shall I campaign?

Deciding where you campaign is crucial. Do you have a nearby target seat? It is so important to have Labour activists campaigning in key seats on polling day as they can be won or lost based on getting Labour voters out. Check with your CLP secretary or regional office where your local target seat is.

Can I organise campaigning on polling day?

If you run a local Young Labour group or you are a CLP youth officer, then get in touch with other young members by setting up a youth focussed Facebook campaign event or group. It’s often daunting for new members to have to turn up alone so letting them know a friendly face will be there may encourage more to come along.

However firstly search on your local party’s Facebook group or your MPs page before setting this up as you may find there is already a campaigning plan in place.

Never campaigned before?

If you are new to the #LabourDoorstep then do not fear, let the organiser know on the day and they will team you up with an experienced campaigner who will show you the ropes for your first few doors.

What should I bring?

Here are some things you may want to bring along:

-          Water

-          Sun cream (depending on the season)

-          Snacks (high energy snacks are best)

-          A backpack

What should I wear?

There are no specific requirements but wear sensible clothes to ensure you are comfortable when walking around all day.

Summer polling day:

-          Sensible shoes - like walking boots or trainers

-          A water-proof jacket (such is the British summer…)

-          An umbrella

Winter polling day:

-          Sensible shoes - like walking boots or trainers

-          Layer up, if it’s very cold wear as many layers as possible

-          A fleece

-          Hat, gloves and a scarf

-          Water-proof coat

-          An umbrella

-          Extra socks!

I hope you have found these tips useful for a successful polling day, you can share this with other young or newer members who may want to know what to expect prior to campaigning.

Now let’s get out there and win for Labour, the stakes have never been higher.

 

 

 

 

Polling Day survival guide

Is this your first polling day or are you a seasoned pro? Regardless of how many times you have campaigned before, these tips from NEC Youth Representative Jasmin Beckett will...

Christianah Babajide, from Havering Young Labour in London, writes why she is encouraging young people to register to vote and to vote Labour in the General Election on June 8th. 

Christianah_blog_post.jpg

For many young people, mainstream politics feels out of touch, irrelevant and disconnected from their lives. That was until the backlash from Brexit. June’s referendum result left many, mostly the younger generation, disappointed and feeling remorseful that they hadn’t voted. While we can’t turn back time, we can prevent voter’s fatigue and apathy next month. On June 8th 2017 we can change the leadership of this country and shape a better Britain. For many of us, this will be our chance to take charge of our future in higher education by voting in a General Election, which is why it is even more important to make sure it is a choice we do not regret.

The reality facing Britain today: Tories cut the services and living standards of many, to fund tax cuts for a few, this reason alone, is why I will be voting Labour.

I am convinced the Labour party understands what Britain needs to succeed and their policies soothe the young people today – who feel that life is going to be harder for them than it was for their parents. The Tories and Liberal Democrats have betrayed an entire generation of young people, while Labour offers a better future in comparison and cultivates policies that won’t just benefit the privileged. The Labour Party carries everyone along and doesn’t discriminate against the poor.

Here are 3 big reasons that young people should vote Labour:

  • Education 

Labour propose a new National Education service, properly funding education from early years to post-16 education. They strongly believe in investing in education so that young people have the chance to succeed in life. Tories scrapped the requirement for teachers to be qualified; Labour urges all teachers to get qualified and build their skills throughout their careers, thus improving the standard of education for young people.

  • Security in Employment

A world of unemployment and inequality is one of the main concerns post-Brexit. Only a Labour Party will prioritise the economy and protect the benefits which guarantee jobs and help British businesses to thrive. Nearly half a million Scots currently earn less than the living wage; the Labour Party propose introducing a real living wage of £10 p/h.

  • Better Society

The Tories reckless approach to Brexit is putting millions of jobs at risk and jeopardises workers’ rights. However, instead of a country run by the rich, the Labour Party advocates a better Britain where all citizens can lead richer lives through the means of creating educational opportunities for all and providing safer neighbourhoods. As Jeremy Corbyn said in his first major General Election speech last week, “we will build a country for the many, not the few."

As an individual living in Barking and Dagenham borough, I am obliged to question what the Tories have ever done that has benefited me or anyone in my area. Our area needs strong safe leadership, something I am adamant the Labour Party can provide. Two years ago, Barking and Dagenham put faith in Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, to represent our community in Parliament. His record speaks for itself, since then, he has helped Queen’s hospital out of special measures, saved Dagenham Police from closure and helped 20,000 residents over the last two years. For the indigenous residents of Dagenham and Rainham, a vote for Jon is a vote for stability, strong public services, decent pensions and continued improvement. If ever there was a time to vote Labour it is now.

Many thanks to Christianah for this piece! Find the full original piece at: haveringyounglabour.wordpress.com/2017/05/04/why-im-voting-labour-and-you-should-too/

Make sure your voice is heard by registering to vote by May 22nd, registering takes just two minutes! And if you’re away or doing exams on June 8th, register for a postal vote!  https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Fancy campaigning in Barking and Dagenham for Jon Cruddas? Join the Young Fabians on their campaign day on Sunday May 14th, at 11am, meeting at Dagenham East tube station. Facebook event here.

Christianah: why I'm voting Labour

Christianah Babajide, from Havering Young Labour in London, writes why she is encouraging young people to register to vote and to vote Labour in the General Election on June 8th. ...


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