Douglas Alexander MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary, joined the Young Fabians for a wide-ranging discussion on the future foreign policy challenges facing the UK as part of a two-part series of events on Britain’s role in the world.
Speaking at the height of tensions over Crimea the Shadow Foreign Secretary argued that Russian President Putin was acting from a position of weakness rather than one of strength, and said it was crucial that the UK had the groundwork in place to match our rhetoric with action.
He also stated that any future Labour Foreign Office would be much more active in multi-lateral forums than the current FCO has been under Cameron and Hague.
A further event with Jonathan Powell, former Chief of Staff to Tony Blair will be held on June 16th. Further details can be found here. His talk will focus on how we can best promote our humanitarian values abroad, promote British businesses internationally, and remain an influential global player.
Packed with new members, staff and members of the various Executives the event included short speeches from shadow cabinet members Sadiq Khan and Rachel Reeves.
Labour's ruling body has backed leader Ed Miliband's plan to change the party's links with unions, do you agree with the "one member, one vote" system for leadership elections?
In our last poll, 97% of supporters were in favour of the plans.
On Wednesday the Young Fabians held the launch event to kick off their exciting campaigns programme for the year. They were joined by the Rt Hon David Lammy MP and Chair of the Fabian Society Jessica Asato, top campaigner Kirsty McNeill and Deputy General Secretary Marcus Roberts. The panel discussion explored how the Young Fabians can build a culture of campaigning and offered a number of practical tips to aspiring and seasoned campaigners.
The panel agreed that the campaigning techniques of the Obama campaign had a profound impact on their approach to campaigning. Jessica Asato explained that campaigning is about making politics real and relevant. However it is also about the personal experience. Campaigning binds people together - you go to places you haven’t been to before and make friends forever.
Kirsty McNeill asked the audience to check out the Progress website Frontline 40 (http://labourmajority.org.uk/where/frontline-40/#.UyIl3Pl_uBI) to gain an understanding Labour’s target seats. Campaigners should understand the strategy behind campaigning and dig into the polling to understand what voters care about.
Marcus Roberts explained that field organising is finally taking its rightful place at the top table of electioneering, having been neglected for too long.
David Lammy highlighted the hard work that was lying ahead of Labour over the next year. But he emphasised that if we do get this right, we won’t be going back to the US to learn about their campaigning but we’ll be talking about our experiences here in the UK.
The panel also recommended a number of publications that campaigners should consult including Drew Weston’s ‘The Political Brain’ and the Yale University website http://gotv.research.yale.edu/, which compiles results from a wide array of voter mobilization field experiments.
Young Fabians' Campaigns Officer Alvin Carpio, who organised the event with the Campaigns Programme Leadership Team, said: "it was fantastic to see so many Young Fabians wanting to campaign and help Labour win. The challenge for us is to build a culture of campaigning in the lead up to the local elections and General Election next year and the launch has got us off to good start." He went on to say, "Our first campaigns session is in Ilford North where we will be supporting Wes Streeting and his team in one of the key battleground seats in the country - with only 10 Saturdays left until the local elections, the hard work begins now."
King’s College School might not seem the most obvious venue for a talk on socialism, but our Chair, James Hallwood, was invited to speak to students about One Nation Labour and what socialism means in the 21st century.
James commented afterwards, “It was encouraging to see so many young people open to, and interested, in what Labour stands for. Regardless of background, Labour has a message that can speak to everyone – truly One Nation”
James will be speaking at a variety of schools across the country to explain who the Young Fabians are and what Labour’s message should be in the run-up to 2015.
If you have a school or group that wants a Young Fabian speaker contact us at [email protected]
James Hallwood travelled to Peterborough local Fabian Society to talk about the important issue of youth engagement with local members.
It follows on from his chapter in How Labour Can Change Britain with the title "Generation Why Labour".
As always, Executive members enjoy meeting our local societies, the backbone of the national Fabian Society, and the discussion had touched on key issues facing young people who are disproportionately suffering due to Coalition policies and successive failures to engage young voters.
A recording of the session can be listened to here.
Joining a panel chaired by Ivana Bartoletti (FWN and Labour MEP candidate) and alongside Patrick Diamond, James Hallwood and Sophie Robson, Chair of the Young Fabians and Finance Network respectively, discussed whether socialism was back.
With an engaged audience and a range of opinions the regional conference was a great success. The session on socialism looked at issues ranging from what it actually means to the new economy and particularly how One Nation fits into Labour's tradition.
A recording of the session can be listened to here.
James Hallwood joined a panel that included a Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner and a Liberal Democrat MEP to face questions from an audience of students, parents and teachers in Leicester.
Questions ranged from the crisis in Crimea to immigration as well as addressing concerns over tuition fees and housing. James’ favourite moment was when someone at the end approached him to say he was normally a Conservative voter but he’d now be voting Labour….a Fabian gradualist approach to winning over one voter at a time!
It's exactly one week away until the launch of the Young Fabians' Campaigns Programme and we've got some good news:
They will join Kirsty McNeill and Marcus Roberts to explore how we can build a culture of campaigning in the Young Fabians and officially launch our Campaigns Programme.
Make sure to join us next Wednesday, 12 March, 6.30-8pm in the Fabian Society HQ - this event is not to be missed!
(Note: this event will be filmed. Refreshments will also be served.)
If you haven't already done so, please register here.
Twitter hashtag: #YFCampaigns
Harrow Fabians hosted Executive members, James Hallwood and Adebusuyi Adeyemi, for a talk on ‘public sector patriotism and the NHS’.
The local Fabian groups are the backbone of the national Fabian Society and James and Ade received a warm welcome, challenging questions and some excellent insights from the local members.
It was particularly welcome to see Harrow Fabian co-chairs John and June Solomon at the event. John and June have been married for 55 years and first met at a Fabian tea dance in the 1960s. In his 90s, John still has very strong opinions on the Labour Party and James and Ade enjoyed hearing wise words from a man who has spent much of his life in the Fabian Society.
The issue of patriotism and One Nation is being addressed by our Ideas Series. It’s something that Labour is increasingly looking at reclaiming from the Right so it was a pleasure for James and Ade to get to explore the issues surrounding the topic with local members.