Personality and Presentation, or People and Policies

On Thursday evening, I attended the Dagenham and Rainham CLP meeting where we officially chose what candidate we were going to endorse in the 2016 Labour Leadership. The meeting was packed, with 74 members in attendance, resulting in a charged, yet positively friendly atmosphere.

The meeting saw several speakers, including myself, stand up to state why we were voting for our chosen candidate, and why we thought other members should do so. After these, we had the ballot, where the outcome was that the current incumbent, Jeremy Corbyn beat challenger Owen Smith with 52 votes to 22 votes.

As such, with 70% of the votes, Jeremy Corbyn is officially endorsed by the Dagenham and Rainham CLP as our chosen Leadership candidate for the Labour Party.

The highlight, for me, was the speeches – which showed that even in division, the Dagenham and Rainham CLP are both passionate, yet respectful, with a deep respect for our fellow members. As with the meeting prior to the EU Referendum, we continued to hold the idea of unity and cooperation above all, with a civil, even friendly, meeting regardless of whom members stood for and voted. It was agreed that the key principle of the Dagenham and Rainham CLP was democracy, and that regardless of the outcome, we would stand united, because unity is what is required most at this time.

The takeaway for me was how the speeches ended up being either for or against Jeremy Corbyn, rather than for Jeremy Corbyn or for Owen Smith. I felt that there was much that Jeremy could learn from these comments, which covered both his strengths and weaknesses, and would enable him to be a better leader. It also appeared to me that if circumstances were different, Owen Smith might have stood a chance – but right now, he’s perceived merely as not Jeremy Corbyn.

It rather makes me wish that I had recorded the speeches, as the passion and sincerity of each were self-evident. Local Councillor Phil Waker made a rousing speech as expected, ending in the fact that Jeremy Corbyn has awakened a social movement which cannot be denied. Whether or not that is enough to make him a good leader, or to win Labour the next General Election, remains to be seen – but it cannot be discounted.

For me, I spoke briefly about how I had always been agnostic, if not adverse, to party politics, up until Jeremy Corbyn brought me “in from the cold” convincing me to put aside by fears and give the Labour Party a chance. I know I am not alone in this – a few members were also either new to Labour because of Jeremy Corbyn, or returning because of him, and it felt good to be able to speak of my personal perspective, knowing that I was also able to speak for them.

For me, what it come down to was exactly what type of politics did we want to endorse. It was widely acknowledged that Jeremy Corbyn had been smeared by the press, if not vilified by it, and that the coup attempt that preceded this challenge was a disgrace to the party.

However, what needed to be challenged the most was the idea that Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable. The evidence is clearly showing otherwise, with Labour winning every election in the last 9 months, and the membership increasing massively. Whatever is said, Jeremy Corbyn has been good for the party.

Yet there is still this idea that Jeremy “doesn’t look right.” We must ask ourselves, do we want to endorse the politics of personality and presentation, over the politics of people and policies? Are we, and the electorate, ready to put aside our preconceptions of what a Prime Minister should look like, so that we can get what we believe a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland should act like?

I would like to hope so – and I couldn’t help leaving the meeting with the feeling that the Dagenham and Rainham CLP had taken a big step towards that by formally endorsing Jeremy Corbyn as our Labour Leadership Candidate in 2016.

Christina Freeman – Village Ward Labour Party Member 

We are the dreamers of tomorrow…

I want to start this entry with a quote…

‘The duty of youth is to challenge corruption’ – Kurt Cobain

This quote nicely sums up my reasoning for being a Youth Officer. The youth of today will be the people to make our decisions for the future, so becoming a Youth Officer meant I could campaign, socialise, and work alongside others to teach the importance of a democratic vote, the importance of every individual’s voice and the importance in taking an interest in modern society.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Havering Young Labour’s Summer Social event at Harrow Lodge Park in Hornchurch. I had never met any of the attending guests before but was excited to learn more about Havering Young Labour and what they do. I met some lovely people from all over Havering as we sat and spoke about work, studies, campaigning, ideas etc. I felt inspired to be around young people so passionate and involved in politics. It was a great thing to see. They laid on food and drink for all the guests from their personal fundraising pot and welcomed everyone with smiles and warmth.

Labour are gaining more and more young members, and the great thing is these young members are using their voices, and are wanting to be heard. I feel this is such an important thing to promote and build upon so my plea today as a Youth Officer is to urge the young people of Dagenham and Rainham to speak up, speak loud and speak proud. Involve yourself with your local party and make your voice heard! A lot of young people think of politics as an older person’s profession that they simply don’t fit into – and they couldn’t be more wrong. Labour want the youth to have more of a voice, so whilst our party are about to decide who our leader is – this couldn’t be more of a perfect time to get involved.

If you would like to know more on how to get involved with Dagenham and Rainham Labour Party here are some contact details:

Email:- dandr_labour@outlook.com

Twitter:- @DandR_CLP

Facebook:- http://www.facebook.com/DRCLP

Fay Hough – Youth Officer for Dagenham & Rainham Labour Party

A letter to unemployed graduates

For many of us university, truthfully, is one the best experiences of our young adult lives.

Exams, parties and the joys of paying rent are all a part of the myriad of responsibilities that come with going to university. However, despite all of this, our purpose of going to university is to attain a degree which we believe will propel us into the job market. But this doesn’t necessarily happen straight away for a lot of us and we therefore become a part of the 5.1% of the population who are unemployed.

All of sudden life comes to a halt, and the myriad of responsibilities become all but one dreary and tedious task – job applications.

The purpose of this letter is not to make apparent what already is but to give advice to those of you who are currently residing in that 5.1% with a degree under their belt.

So here is goes.

1. It doesn’t last forever

One thing you constantly need to remind yourself is that you will not be unemployed until the end of time, though it may feel that way.

2. Implement a Routine

It is important to maintain a routine for yourself, this will ensure that the time you have is utilised effectively. This routine could consist of exercise, down time, a hobby of yours and of course job applications. The fact is that you have a lot of time on your hands and in order to make it as beneficial as possible you should allocate your time according to your own needs.

3. Practise

If your efforts are targeted towards graduate roles, you will have recognised that these applications will involve an initial sifting process which is often a situational test. In order to give you the best chance, take some time to practise and assess your results. There are plenty of resources online such as: http://www.practiceaptitudetests.com and its free – bonus!

4. Ask for help

If one thing that is keeping you unemployed is a constant flow of “unfortunately on this occasion…” emails then it could be the way you are constructing your cover letters and/or your CV. If you are a recent graduate you should still be able to access resources from your university which help you understand what employers are looking for. If you are not, ask for help from friends. Sometimes, it is difficult to identify where you are going wrong. Having a fresh pair of eyes will point out what’s missing and what needs to be included.

5. Tailor your CV

You do not need to send the same CV to every organisation, one CV does not fit all. In fact, what you should do is tailor it according the organisation and the job description. Your CV should demonstrate exactly why you are suitable for the role and how you demonstrate the specifications outlined.

6. Volunteer

One thing that employers do not want to hear is that all this while all you have been doing is job applications they want to see that you have been active. Volunteering is a good way to ensure that there are no gaps in your CV. Some ideas are: volunteering with your local MP, councillors, homeless shelter, local businesses etc. Also it may benefit your pocket to look for opportunities in your area that won’t cost too much to get to.

7. Financial assistance

As stated before, a lot of money may not be readily available. Whether you like it or not bills do not suddenly disappear when you are unemployed, one thing you can do however is reduce the amount of money that goes out. That mean’s cutting out services that you could do without like online music and entertainment providers, take-outs and much more. This doesn’t mean you have to cut it out completely but a good reduction will help your money to stretch further. Additionally, you are entitled to financial help from the government. It is worth researching what help is available to you, though it may not be much it will ensure a steady and small amount of income.

So, I sincerely hope this helps you. You definitely do not have to take all of these tips on board but some of them may be worth your while. Though I can’t guarantee that this will help you get a job any faster, it will ensure that your time searching for a job opportunity is not wasted and that you make the most of it.

Uju Eneh – Young Labour Party Member in Village Ward