I was elected just over a year ago on the promise of implementing One Member, One Vote for Labour Students. It was decided by countless democratic events and Labour Clubs that was the right course of action, and I agree. My time in Labour Students has been characterised by the endless debate on this issue. Well enough is enough; tomorrow we can put an end to the indecision, the stalling, and the reviews. We need nothing less to stay relevant in a changing movement; we can’t retain the structures of the 1970s.
Tomorrow we have a historic opportunity one that marks a break with the past and a new beginning for Labour Students. We can build a movement not divided along factional lines on a conference floor, a movement we can be proud of. Tomorrow we can choose to implement OMOV, choose to move Labour Students forward; or we can choose to stay stuck in the past, where we’re left stuck with a movement and structures that are decaying and defunct. Left behind in the shadows of a Labour Party that’s moving on. I hope delegates embrace this chance to fundamentally shake-up our organisation and begin building the more democratic Labour Students we all know we need.
It’s unusual for a Chair to speak so bluntly about the organisation they lead, but I wasn’t elected on a promise to preserve and the debate has raged on long enough. I’ve visited Clubs who re-affiliated on the promise of Labour Students introducing OMOV. We have that opportunity in front of us know. Our movement is crying out for change and the opportunity to change is finally here. We must grasp it.
I’ve been open in the past about the challenges we face and this constitution doesn’t solve them all. This is a foundation, a foundation upon which successive national committees will build a stronger, more united, transparent, and democratic Labour Students. OMOV won’t solve all of our problems or fix all the faults within our movement, but it’s undeniable that democratising our organisation is the right thing to do and a massive step in the right direction.
The chance is too big to miss; the stakes are too high, and we cannot let this chance slip through our fingers. Fail to vote for a more democratic future tomorrow and we’re left behind yet again by a Labour party that’s changing for the better under Jeremy Corbyn. Not just as Chair, but as a member of this organisation for the past 5 years, I encourage you to vote for OMOV tomorrow, and take the first step of many toward building a more democratic, open and fairer Labour Students.