This blog is from Harry Matthews, Vice Chair of Liberal Youth. At the recent Liberal Youth Conference, we had a policy debate that lasted much of a session, predominately regarding the line “that Liberal Youth should move away from the ‘Party within a Party’ mentality and become a campaigning operation, supporting candidates in target seats across the UK.”
I’m just about recovering from Liberal Youth Conference. Passionate debates are what make it worthwhile. And that’s what we got on Saturday afternoon of Conference during the ‘Encouraging Youth Participation’ debate.
I had submitted an amendment to the motion, because I felt the motion was incomplete. It ignored the hard work that our activists do that isn’t running for office. It showed the worst careerist tendencies of our youth wing – and why we have so few active members.
Repeating the same thing over and over again won’t work and neither will appealing to those who already have those ambitions. We have to reach out to any and all our members and ask them how they can help – in whatever way that is.
However, many have concluded, despite me saying the opposite in the debate, that Liberal Youth, as a result of this amendment, loses its policy making powers. It does not.
We do not do nearly enough campaigning – whether that is on the ground campaigning, or policy campaigning. We need to do more. That’s why we must focus on electing more Liberal Democrats in the coming years, but also lobbying those already elected to vote and promote our priorities, like Equal Marriage.
The road ahead is not easy and is not simple. Staying in our collective comfort zone is not an option for us as Liberal Democrats. We can make Liberal Youth a fun, innovative & campaigning organisation. It’s time to reach out there and win.
That is the motivation behind my work everyday: to work more with the Federal Party to deliver our shared objections; to elect more Liberal Democrats; to reach out beyond our comfort zone to new frontiers.
Harry Matthews is Vice Chair of Liberal Youth, as well as a second year Physics undergraduate at the University of Sheffield. You can follow him on Twitter @hmatthews92
This article is solely the views of the author and should not be taken as the views of Liberal Youth, the Liberal Democrats, nor the editorship of the Libertine.