London is a great city. But London’s dominance runs too deep in British politics, culture and economics. The Young Fabians have always been too centred on London: and that’s a problem.
This year’s Executive are determined to tackle this problem, and we’re well placed to do so.
Eight members of our 16 person committee (including members co-opted in 2020) live outside London, and the shift of our events online during physical distancing has improved our accessibility. Even before the pandemic started, we began democratising the Young Fabians further by including online dial-in and voting options for the AGMs of each of our ten policy networks and BAME Advocacy Group. This helped Young Fabians living outside London to win officer positions in several policy networks.
But we need to go much further. We need to empower Young Fabians across the UK to develop their own spaces and projects: and to change the rules so that future Execs must always support them in this.
That’s why we’ve invited proposals to create national groups for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: and regional groups for each of the eight official English regions outside London (click here to see the geography for these).
Like our flourishing policy networks and BAME Advocacy Group, each national or regional group will have a steering committee including a chair, secretary and other officers. They will have a dedicated champion on the YF Exec: currently Mo Ahmed, our Regional Officer. They will also be empowered to run events, contribute to YF projects and publications alongside policy networks, and pursue online comms strategies under the Young Fabians name and brand.
To make sure these groups are sustained for years to come, we’ll propose a change to our Constitution at the Young Fabians’ next AGM this winter. If members vote for it, this amendment will give national and regional groups the same standing as the policy networks. It will also include provisions to encourage representation for Young Fabian women in these new groups, alongside the YF Exec’s new Women’s Officer.
If the amendment passes, then we’ll hold AGMs and elections for any active national or regional groups as soon as possible in the new year. Until then, we’re accepting proposals to start new groups, and presuming that the submitter of each proposal will be the founder and chair for that group until 2021.
We already have groups and founder-chairs in progress for:
- North East England
- North West England
- Yorkshire & the Humber
- South West England
Some of these groups have already started holding events and there have been great indications of support from local politicians. They will soon hold online inaugural general meetings where Young Fabian members in each nation or region can stand for election for secretary or other roles. Young Fabian women will be particularly welcomed to do so. If you have any questions on getting involved in these, please drop Mo an email at [email protected].
We’re very keen to hear proposals to set up groups for:
- Northern Ireland
- West Midlands
- East Midlands
- East of England
- South East England
If you’re interested in writing a short proposal, or have suggestions on how to help this initiative succeed, please get in touch with Mo.
Thanks: and we hope to hear from you soon as we work to decentralise the Young Fabians.
This post was co-authored by Mark Whittaker and Mo Ahmed.
Mark Whittaker is Networks Coordinator for the YF Executive Committee.
Mo Ahmed is the Regional Officer for the YF Executive Committee. He tweets at @mohammedahmed85