Centrist ‘outrage’ as NEC restores democracy to Young Labour

young labour rectangle

Labour’s NEC (National Executive Committee) ‘away day’ meeting in Glasgow last Sunday agreed that the selection of the Young Labour representative on the NEC would be democratised – switching to a new system incorporating OMOV by Young Labour members for 50% of the votes, plus 50% going to union affiliates.

Predictably, this did not meet with the approval of those with a vested interest in keeping a ‘centrist’ (or right-wing, according to your point of view) NEC representative.

A former National Union of Students VP was vocal in his outrage:

vinson yl

Young Labour’s current NEC rep Jasmin Beckett went further – complaining at such length that she needed to paste it into two images to get around Twitter’s 280-character limitation:

beckett yl

Of course Ms Beckett, who is said to have won her place by only a single vote after being accused of inciting false antisemitism smears against her left-wing opponent, has reason to be concerned about future elections under the new system. But the second of her images bears closer inspection:

beckett shoddy.png

This is of interest as it’s a classic example of how similar events are portrayed in a completely different light when it suits the ‘centrists’ – because almost exactly the same thing happened in order to create the system that has just been changed.

The complaining centrists make the change of system sound like a huge injustice – but only four months ago the right imposed an electoral college on Young Labour’s conference via the then right-dominated NEC.

An NEC with an anti-democratically manufactured right-wing majority.


Without consultation – and against the furious protests of Young Labour members and officers.

Some might even say it was ‘shoddy’.

At the time, the vice-Chair of Young Labour described the change to an electoral college system and the Young Labour committee’s view of it:

Young Labour National Committee members believe these arrangements represent a stifling of a democratic and welcoming culture in our youth wing, and calls on young members to campaign with us for Young Labour Conferences which are autonomously organised by representatives who are democratically accountable to our movement.

She also called Labour Students ‘a joke of an organisation’ and had a similar opinion of the process (for want of a better word) by which the NEC made the change:

At every stage, there has been a lack of accountability and transparency. The proposal made in the name of Young Labour determining allocation of delegates was put forward to the National Executive Committee without there being any discussion on Young Labour National Committee about this; in fact we weren’t even told about it.

‘Labour Students’ is in fact a small group used by the Labour right in the 1980s to fight against left-wing youth organisations in the Labour Party and is widely considered to be thoroughly Blairite. For a small – and not even known in number – group of students that are not even necessarily young to have the conference voting power of around 100,000 Young Labour members by right-wing NEC fiat is neither venerable nor democratic.

In context, the complaints of ‘outraged’ centrists about a supposedly-undemocratic change away from a system that was blatantly undemocratic start to look hollow and agenda-driven.

For Young Labour members, the change actually represents a huge step back to democracy.

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10 responses to “Centrist ‘outrage’ as NEC restores democracy to Young Labour

  1. Why are the right wing, so called centrists, afraid of the natural democracy of OMOV. They like everyone else have the opportunity to make their case. Are they afraid that the paucity of their arguments will be exposed when subjected to proper democratic scrutiny.

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  4. I am aware that since the influx of new youth members that they are being organised as it seems to me by Regional Ds and have their own communications networks. I may be wrong. I watch their twitter account and noticed that a prominent member appeared at Labour 2016 Conference and could not resist the temptation of the media exposure.
    This person purports to be a member in our area but never attends meetings. So to me they are acting in a dark space.

    • Unfortunately I can’t work out what on earth you are on about. Perhaps you could give it another go and provide some links to clarify or support whatever point you are trying to make.

  5. To paraphrase an old saying: “Youth perhaps is wasted on Right Wing Labour Youth?” When I was young in Labour in the 1970s we felt that collectively we were going to change the World! Some perhaps need to read some Left Wing Books (or Google them) such as anything by Paulo Freire, Paul Frolich’s biography of Rosa Luxemburg, Ralph Miliband ‘The State in a Capitalist Society’ etc. etc. as an old Leftie used to say: “Read, read, read!” Solidarity!

    “THE LEFT”!

  7. I do wish the Blairites/New Labour would realise that their day is over, and that despite their best efforts to prevent it, Democracy is now returning to our beloved Labour Party, and that no amount of their whinging and whining is going to stop it. If they really want to belong to an unprincipled party ruled by a few greedy snollygosters, they should join the Tory Party and have done with it!

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