Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Liberal Youth England Chair Manifesto

I'm reviving this blog temporarily to use for my campaign to be Liberal Youth England (LYE) Chair. You can find my campaign facebook page here and below is how I announced my candidacy:

These would be the goals I aim to achieve as LYE Chair:
  • To hold at least one annual conference Liberal Youth England
  • Reform the regional chairs system to make it more effective in supporting branches
  • Work towards having large county/city branches to cover areas of England where no branches exist at present
  • Build a dedicated support team to provide specific types of support to branches and members - in areas such as organisation, recruitment, events, campaigning, websites and emails
  • Take back policy making powers for England from federal LY - with a constitutional amendment to the first LYE Conference so members can decide for themselves
  • Improve accessibility for members - including online participation and organising carpooling to events
  • Set up our own website to give us a distinct online presence and identity
While I think this can be done within the existing budget I will also seek to get more funds for LYE the English Liberal Democrats.

And finally I want to change our name to English Liberal Youth so we have a pronounceable acronym.

What is Liberal Youth England?

I'm reviving this blog temporarily to use for my campaign to be Liberal Youth England (LYE) Chair. You can find my campaign facebook page here and below is how I announced my candidacy:

As we're on the eve of Liberal Youth England elections I thought I'd put on my Six Years Membership of LY(TM) Hat and explain a bit about it.
Who is LYE?
What is LYE?
How did it come to be there?
Well hush children and Clopin will tell you. For this is a tale of a youth wing... and a monster.
If you don't get the reference then either your childhood sucked or you're probably too old to be able to vote for me.
Once upon a time there was no federal Liberal Youth. Instead there was Scottish Young Liberal Democrats (SYLD) in Scotland and Liberal Democrat Youth and Students (LDYS) in England. God knows what they did in Wales back then - rode dragons and mined pot noodles presumably.
Now LDYS had pretty much all the money back then because the Lib Dem English party gave them all the membership fees from every youth and student member in England. And since England has so many people that made LDYS incredibly rich compared to SYLD and whatever they had in Wales.
Don't worry about remembering all those acronyms though because they became utterly irrelevant in 2002 when they all merged(including their money) and you ended up with Liberal Youth as the federal youth wing and Liberal Youth Scotland (LYS) in Scotland) and IR Cymru in Wales.
But since LYS and IR organised their own conferences, made their own policy and were represented on the Scottish Lib Dem exec and the Welsh Lib Dem exec it was eventually decided that it might be a good idea to go back to having some sort of structure to cover LY members in England - although all policy making powers for England would stay with federal Liberal Youth.
So the position of English Convenor was created. But it didn't really do anything other than exist - but this is how Liberal Youth England came into existence.
So then they added LYE Regional Chairs for every regional party in England who were also meant to be members of a LYE executive - they never really had a job description or particular purpose but they were meant to really make things happen with members in their region by being someone on the ground who could support branches and stuff.
Unfortunately this didn't really work out. Mainly because:
- there are lots of regions with often not enough candidates to go around
- nobody knew who the chairs were or what they were for
- hardly anyone noticed when elections were held
- the people who became chairs were overstretched if they ever tried to do anything
- lots of chairs quit before they completed their terms of office
- as a result, lots of new regional chairs had to wait weeks or months to even get the passwords to their email accounts since there was no proper hand over
So then things changed again. The position of English Convenor was rebranded as English Chair and very recently a proper executive was created by adding the positions of a Vice-Chair each for Campaigns and Membership and three General Executive Members. It even has a budget now - out of the many thousands of pounds Liberal Youth gets from the English party, LYE now gets a massive £750!
Of course LYE still doesn't make policy. Still doesn't have its own website. Still doesn't organise its own events. Still doesn't run any campaigns. Last year it didn't even have elections for its representatives to sit on the decision making body of the English party - because, er, people forgot they needed to happen (and then federal LY refused to pay for them).
Mind you, it does have a Chair, Conor McKenzie, who's listed on the Liberal Youth website. And if you're prepared to look on the LYE Chair page and find the one word hyperlink you can even find the details of everyone else on the LYE executive.
So that's what LY is, who it is and how it came to be.
What does it do? Not a lot - though that's not the fault of the people running it at the moment. What could it do? F***ing lots of things - be it events, policy making, campaigning, branch development or something else. It just needs a proper purpose.
And you get to decide exactly what it should be in this election smile emoticon
(Unless you're a filthy Welsh or Scott foreigner of course)
Also I'm running for LYE Chair. God help me.

Monday, 2 March 2015

In hibernation

So obviously I haven't posted on here in quite a while. There are a number of reasons for that which I'll quickly go through.

One is that I think I've mellowed somewhat. I still get angry about things which I think are unjust but I find that I don't have the same drive to shout from the rooftops about them. On top of that I find that reading through some things I've posted in the past makes me feel embarrassed about how sweary I've been. While I might still think that some people are [expletive deleted]s that doesn't mean that the best response is to call them that.

Another reason is that starting from around October 2013 my mental state started to deteriorate. It was a combination of things, mostly stress from personal relationships and my academic studies which built up until I couldn't cope any more. The short version of a long story is that I had to suspend my studies, I got counselling from my university's wellbeing centre, I had a lot of support from friends and family and ultimately I got better. I went back to university in October 2014 and I'm in the process of finishing my final year at the time of writing.

My 23rd year was undoubtedly the worst, most harrowing year of my life but at least it's over now and I'm feeling pretty much back to normal. However, one of the many things which fell by the wayside during that time period was my blog. And after so long it feels very hard to find the energy to start it up again.

Yet another reason for my not blogging is that, whilst I still enjoy writing, I find that my energy as a writer seems to have a limit and I'm using it on other things. If I have an idea which I want to share, nowadays I'll write an article for Lib Dem Voice where it'll find a larger audience that it could ever get on my blog. If I want to write an article about local politics I'll save it for the Onslow Lib Dems website. If I want to write for relaxation then I'll tend to focus on a nerdy, yet fun, thingy I'm doing on the forum for a game I enjoy playing. If I want to share an opinion or discuss something which is just happening then I'll use twitter. Plus there have been plenty of academic things to do which involve lots of writing.

All of those are things I do when I feel like it because I feel like it. But for me this blog ended up feeling too much like work. I felt a pressure to write articles regularly and to try and build and maintain an audience. Yet when I did so it often came at the expense of other things which I then felt bad about neglecting.

Since I've had to learn the hard way not to overstretch myself and to try and minimise the number of demands on my time and energy, this blog has ended up being sacrificed.

I can't bring myself to delete it and I'm sad to let it go but as it is I doubt I'll ever be picking up blogging again. I might stick something on here occasionally, and if I write an article for Lib Dem Voice or somewhere I'll try to remember to cross post it here but overall, this blog is in hibernation for the foreseeable future.

Thank you to everyone who's read it and thank you to everyone who's commented. I'm still a Lib Dem, I'm still a feminist, I still care about making the world a better place and I'm still fighting the good fight as best I can but overall I've decided that there are better ways to try and achieve it than by running a private blog.

Goodbye (for the time being) and thank you :)