Friday, November 03, 2006

LDYS: Winning How?

Of course, if I'm going to sit here all week being critical of things going on within LDYS, at some point you'll have every right to ask me what I'd do about it. And to be honest, I've spent all week struggling with it, until just now I realised that actually I have a get-out clause (but more of that anon...)

Meanwhile, I think it's only fair that I tell you what I disagree with;

  • We must not drop the word "Democrat" from our name. This is something that the whole party needs to be made aware of; LDYS is considering changing its name (which is fair enough, LDYS isn't exactly memorable) and there is a strong body of opinion in favour of only using "Liberal" as a descriptor. Even without the PPERA problems that might arise from such a change, it is fundamental that we not seek to deny our status as the youth wing of a political party. The moment we cease to have pride in the party we seek to represent, we cease to have any right to do anything.,
  • We must not allow the accountability situation to get worse. LDYS Conference has its problems, true. And yes, the idea of having one annual Convention with a greater focus on workshops and blue-sky thinking is good and should be pursued. But we must not allow our desire to get a convention in place to ride roughshod over the need to have an accountable executive.
  • We must not have a Sabbatical Chair. LDYS has suffered in recent years from only having one full-time staff member, but the problem has been a lack of skills and a lack of time to apply them, not a lack of political leadership. Yes, we need a second staff member, but that person should be a stable, professional presence with the skills we need to do the things we need to do.
But what, you may well ask, of my get-out clause? Well, put simply, we must have an open process. LDYS has an enormous range of stakeholders; parliamentarians, local parties, university branches, youth branches, ordinary members... and so far the efforts to engage them properly have been negligible Until we're getting that bit right, I'm not going to feel guilty sniping from the sidelines.

Either way, the lesson to those on the outside is clear; if you want a strong youth wing, if you want to take advantage of the clear advantage Lib Dems have among young voters, don't wait for it to be delivered on a plate. Get informed, get involved, and help us get it sorted.

No comments: