Lara McNeill has written a pitch for Young Labour’s NEC [National Executive Committee] Rep seat in Tribune.
I rate her chances of getting the seat highly, given that she is the incumbent and the only left candidate on the ballot paper, and, after all, Momentum’s National Coordinating Group endorsed her without a vote!
One passage reads “When young people are protesting for social justice, standing up to exploitative bosses, or striking against their landlords, I want them to know that Young Labour will be on their side”.
That would certainly be a welcome step. But a question arises. What steps has McNeill taken to build Young Labour on those lines? She talks of some welcome constitutional and financial changes that she has pushed. But the basics that Young Labour should get funding and have some autonomy shouldn’t have been the only achievements of two years on the NEC.
In fact, the whole article begs the question, why has she not done more in her time? And in an environment where, most of the time, the Left had a significant majority on the NEC and were in control of most of Young Labour. If there are political or bureaucratic obstacles to making YL the force it needs to be, McNeill should name them and prepare us, since any fight to build up is surely harder now.
The 2018 London Young Labour conference, organised under a more right-wing administration, had 400 people, and debated many motions, bad and good. The 2019 conference had only about 70 people. Only one motion got debated, and that with only one speech for and one against. The fault lay with McNeill’s left, not with any outside imposition.
McNeill cites youth involvement in Black Lives Matter, climate strikes and more, by young activists in many towns and cities. Those young people have done that without any reference to, or support from, Lara McNeill. Young Labour members who got involved did so, as with most of their activism, using their own resources and without assistance.
McNeill also mentions her efforts to reintegrate trade unionism into Young Labour. How has she done that? Union membership is virtually unknown to many young people, although in many ways this is one of the most politically aware and informed generations in history. With the resources already at the disposal of Young Labour, the contact details of tens of thousands of young workers, there could’ve been serious efforts to expand trade unions into fast food and hospitality and other industries.
But Young Labour has done nothing, for example, to spread the organising in Deliveroo, which in some areas employs many young workers.