Monday, October 30, 2006

LDYS: Winning Where?

The passage of LDYS Conference understandably draws my consideration to the state of our youth wing (not least as at this one I was elected to the LDYS Executive!) This week, I'll be offering a few perspectives on where we are and where we might be heading.

In youth politics as a whole two trends dominate debate; single-issue campaigns and the "rise" of Conservative Future. The first is an issue at all levels of party politics and one I've no real insight into solving. The same cannot be said, however, for the second.

As much as anything, it all depends on your idea of success, and that very much depends on the party you are referring to. From the point of view of the Conservatives, Conservative Future is hugely successful, in that the traditional route to becoming a Conservative MP or Association Chair is through being an utter socialite. All Conservative Future is thence required to be is a social organisation with a broad but not necessarily committed membership, and it does that very well.

Similarly, advancement within the Labour Party has always been about your hack rating; you become a hack in Labour Students, then a hack in the NUS, then a hack in your Trade Union of choice or within the party itself before finally reaching Westminster.

But for the Liberal Democrats, the aim of the youth wing is very much different. To become an MP, you must learn your trade and the benefits of hard work. From the point of view of the local parties, then, the aim of Liberal Democrat Youth and Students is to produce activists, men and women with motivation and skills ready to fight the good fight.

It's tempting to believe that any form of success is something to be pursued. But success is about doing the right thing, not doing anything and then claiming it was right to begin with.

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