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4 Mar 2012

Guest post: So Whats Reading Young Labour all about?

Founded in 2010, Reading Young Labour was set up to be the youth wing of the Reading Labour party taking in all people under the age of 31 in the two CLPs. We aim to promote young people and their interests in the party and council while also representing Labour to young people in the wider electorate. We also set clear aims, to be a strong voice of young people in the labour movement, to be a campaigning machine that engages with the public in new and effective ways and to promote young people to officer roles and elected office. We do this alongside Reading Labour Students but they include students in Reading who normally live outside the CLPs. Ian Stevens is the current chair of RYL, Will Cross is Vice-Chair and I’m the newly elected secretary.

As young people in the party we use Young Labour to engage with people like us who have a passion for the labour movement and who look to the party to promote our views and interests. To a young person, agendas, AMMs, ECs and minutes can all sound a bit scary, Young Labour is there to ease young people into the party and support them. Rather than formal meetings we have informal socials and occasional discussions which have no minutes or agendas to provide a relaxed atmosphere where young people can talk about Labour and other issues.
In turn we use our influence in our branches, the AMM and our seat on the EC to try and influence the party on issues important to us. A founding target of RYL is also to encourage wards to endorse young people as candidates, as only a demographically representative Council group can truly stand up for young people, something we hope to start achieving in 2014.

We also put campaigning as an important pillar of our organisation, it’s what we enjoy and after all, why should the party take us seriously if we don’t pull our weight? A recent get-together of our members voted to set wards including Park and Church as our priority wards, valuing Park’s endorsement of Rachael Chrisp (at the age of 28), while Church includes the University and is a marginal seat. In these seats we will show as young people we are a campaigning force to be reckoned with, producing literature for young people, leading youth campaigns and joining canvasses. We are also encouraging young members to help in their own wards when needed.  We pride ourselves in our innovative campaign ideas and feel our presence has already been influential in the campaigns of 2011 and on-going 2012 campaign.

We hope over the coming years we continue to be an effective voice of young people in the party, and that our campaign activities continue to help elect Labour councillors, win overall control on the council and to win back members of parliament. Young people are returning to Labour, their natural home, when we set up Reading Young Labour we had 56 members today over 150, let’s hope this continues and young people are given a strong voice in this party.

Richard Wood

Secretary of Reading Young Labour

P.S. If you’re a young person who wants to get involved with us and the wider Labour party feel free to contact me at richard28wood@googlemail.com and/ or @richard28wood


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