When I start in June as the new Chair of Labour Students we will work together to build a stronger movement.
by Joe Dharampal-Hornby
Exactly five years since joining the Labour Party, I’m humbled to have been elected as National Chair of Labour Students. I’ve loved my time in our Party, both in my CLP and as Durham University Labour Club Co-Chair. I’m so grateful to all my supporters and everyone who took the time to speak to me about Labour Students and how we can improve.
My involvement in Labour Students – running a small club in the north, attending national events, speaking with students from across the country, and taking part in a national election – has informed my views on how our organisation must change. I can’t wait to begin working with all members in all clubs to build a stronger and more inclusive Labour Students.
It will involve empowered liberation groups in all clubs, accessible events at all levels and a genuinely inclusive and cooperative atmosphere, where we work together not tear each other apart. This is how we will improve our organisation, our campuses, and our country.
Currently, we’re on the backfoot. The Tories and Universities have run riot since 2010. This Government has exacerbated the housing crisis, cut mental health funding, scrapped nursing bursaries and grants, and tripled tuition fees. It has implemented an austerity programme which has caused homelessness and food poverty to soar while refusing to legislate for a genuine living wage.
And it’s this Government which is heading towards a reckless hard Brexit with Erasmus and international students futures at risk. On campus, Vice Chancellors are being paid six-figure salaries to cut staff pensions and refuse them all a living wage, while ignoring student demands for more mental health provision and cheaper accommodation.
We must never forget that Labour Students is first and foremost a campaigning force, and our challenge is two-fold. Win on campus and help elect a Labour government. I want to see Clubs launch new campus campaigns, whether on the living wage, trade union membership, mental health provision or affordable accommodation – there’s so much to improve. I’ll be with you fighting for students’ interests during Brexit, particularly around Erasmus and the rights of international students.
At the same time, we need to be winning the argument on the doorstep. We know it’s only Labour which will deliver for students and the country as a whole, on housing, workers’ rights, mental health and so much more. This message of hope resonated with so many people last June, but we can’t get complacent. It’s on all of us to deliver a Labour Government next time round.
I will be the National Chair who champions you. Together we can build a stronger and more inclusive organisation which wins on campus and the doorstep. We are the student body of the largest political party in Europe, this is our fight.
To stay in touch, please follow me on Twitter @Joe_DH.