Wednesday, 16 December 2015

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.

1 comment:

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I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

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