Ab Brightman, Amendment Proposer
Conference these past (almost) three years as your International Officer has seen me and other LY members work extensively with partners in our liberal umbrella organisations the International Federation of Liberal Youth, IFLRY, and European Liberal Youth, LYMEC.
For parts of my time as International Officer LY has been lucky enough to have had two of our members elected on to the Bureau’s (essentially the international execs) of both Bobby Dean for IFLRY and Ed Sanderson on LYMEC’s. Liberal Youth has a proud tradition of having excellent international Bureau members for IFLRY and LYMEC, and throughout my time as International Officer I have seen that we benefit just as much as a national organisation by having them on there.
As Bureau members they have not just able to keep us in the direct loop of news and unannounced opportunities for our members, but have so much knowledge of best practice and political wisdom to share with LY, gained from their daytodaywork with our sister parties around the globe.
Now, any International Officer worth her salt will also have so much best practice knowledge from working with our sister parties daily as I hope I’ve been able to bring to the exec during my time! Along with exec and other LY members who’ve been involved abroad. Yet international Bureau members often work more directly with sister parties in specifically capacitybuilding activities, and have been able to have more funded opportunities to visit and learn from them.
I believe what they have learnt from these sister parties provides an invaluable perspective to LY’s development yet by making all their formal involvement with LY through the International Officer, as is the current constitutional arrangement, an unnecessary middle man is created for these vital insights. No matter how close an International Officer is with these Bureau members, and luckily I have enjoyed a great relationship with Ed and Bobby, it creates an unnecessary workload to have to go between everyone and by the closed nature of any exec discussion, ensures opportunities for best practice input will always be lost by the natural forgetting to ask or not realising their was anything to learn from to even ask for.
The efficient solution for everyone is to cut out the middle man and place any Bureau members we do have directly on the executive, in an exofficio nonvoting role, but as an internationalist, outwardlooking organisation, Liberal Youth can only gain by including them, alongside our International Officer, on our executive.
I believe it would also make us the first youth party in the liberal world to do so allowing us to blaze a trail and set the standard for rest of constitutional internationalism. There is a trend in both youth wings and the parties as a whole for a divide to form between those who engage internationally, who sit on Bureaus and attend events abroad on behalf of their national parties, and those who are local grassroots activists. My first active months in the party I thought ALDE was a supermarket rather a European liberal party, let alone the fact that the Lib Dems were part of it and actually our own Graham Watson was the President.
Yet this divide does not facilitate the smooth transfer of experiences between people not only from international to local, as I highlight above, but also from the grassroots up. In an ideal world activists would have a foot in both camps. Through my time as International Officer I have been proud to fight to get more and more LY members, doing great things in their branches or local parties, involved internationally and bring those experiences to the rest of the world. Now is the time to fight that divide to bring even more of the experiences of the rest of the world to us, by ensuring international Bureau members remain included in grassroots LY.
So basically if you support internationalism, efficiency, learning from best practice and a grassrootsup approach, please vote for this constitutional amendment.