Angela Eagle: There can be no retreat on the equalities bill

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-Tom Miller
Youth NEC rep questions:

Dear All,

As you may have heard, Labour's youth movement is currently conducting it's only national electoral process, the election of the NEC youth rep, which takes places every two years.

The Compass Youth group isn't going to back a candidate but I reckon it would be good to ask the candidates some questions and post the answers on the Compass youth blog, to help young Compass members and others can make up their own minds - based on some of the candidates policies and ideas.

Assuming they all overcome the initial nominations barriers, the three candidates are (in alphabetical order of sirname):

Daniel Carden:
http://www.danielcarden.co.uk/

Stephanie Peacock:
http://www.steph4nec.co.uk/

Cat Smith:
http://www.votecat.co.uk/

Please send Compass Youth your questions by leaving a comment with them here, by the end of Tuesday (23rd), and I'll get in touch with the candidates and hopefully get some answers, which we'll post on the blog.

In the interests of fairness, these should be questions we can ask to all three candidates rather questions for any one individual candidate - you can obviously pose specific questions to the individuals through their websites.

Cheers,

David Floyd
Co-ordinator
Compass Youth group

Compass Youth Hustings

Compass Youth were out in force last night (Monday, 16 January) if keeping a low profile at the London Young Labour Hustings for NEC youth rep. The candidates on offer came in three volumes - loud (Stephanie Peacock), quiet (Daniel Carden) and silent (Cat Smith, who unfortunately could not make it due to work commitments).

To be fair to all three candidates, including Smith who had a statement read out for her, they seemed sincere and committed to the values that brought us all (or most) to the party.

From what I've been told, Peacock has been the single biggest factor in energising West Midlands Young Labour. It now rivals the youth organisations in London, Wales and Scotland for vibrancy. That's quite a feat, bearing in mind there isn't a ready supply of legislative researchers or a Ken or a Rhodri about to energise the troops.

Meanwhile Carden, emphasised his union credentials as a TGWU stalwart, and committed himself to reviving the 'sacred link' between the Labour Movement and the party. That is vital if we are to get the activists on the ground to fight the next general election. With even turnout at 'the big one' perhaps dropping below 60 per cent, every election is a get out the vote election.

The only real bone of contention was whether to push for a funded national youth officer. While Peacock argued this was a must, Carden thought it was unrealistic. While I agree with Carden that it is not likely to happen with the party finances in their current state, it's still a case of 'don't ask, don't get'. The youth rep cannot go into the NEC meeting naked as it were, having already moderated their stance in representing us. They have to set the bar high, though be willing to lower it to make a deal.

Peacock shaded the vote for LYL nomination, which was probably the right decision. Considering the job she's done in the West Midlands, and being a bit of a sucker for a barnstormer who rallies 'comrades' to the cause, she just about won me over.

They both made the right-on noises. Trident ( Boooo!) Warwick (Yeyyyy!) Scrapping the cap on tuition fees (Boooo!) Liberation campaigns (Yeyyyy!).

The one sticking point I had with both candidates available for questions was a lack of original thinking. And the unions were given too easy a ride. Where the unions are good, they are very good (backing Cruddas in his campaign against the BNP in Dagenham springs to mind). But where they are bad, they are awful. In Brent, for example, the local trades council is organising a 'save our health services' event. The talk is that it will be a soapbox for Liberal MP Sarah Teather to take a massive swing at Labour.

If there is a hung parliament at the next election, Teather could help Orange Book Liberals go into coalition with Tories and then the unions will be stuffed. The youth rep cannot just snuggle up to the unions. Being on the NEC gives them a golden opportunity to send a message to the barons - urge your activists and rank and file to get back into the party, to fight for the values we all believe in, but also to get Labour elected.

-Post Contributed to Compass Youth by 'Laski'