Inspiration, energy and enthusiasm – what happened at Labour Young Activist Academy

ErinErin McAuley was one of the Scottish attendees at a Labour young activists academy at the weekend. She says it gave her practical skills and the motivation to put them into practice in her community.


Travelling down to Nottingham to take part in the Labour Party’s Young Activist and Community Organising Academy at such an uncertain time for our party, and the UK, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In the end I left inspired, motivated and equipped with the skills to make a difference in my community.

The weekend consisted of young members and community activists from across the regions and nations of the UK coming together to pitch campaign ideas and learn campaign techniques and skills. The academy was bursting with inspiration, energy and enthusiasm – three traits that will be crucial as we build towards next year’s council elections.

One of the best things about the weekend was the opportunity to learn and be empowered by those who have been campaign activists for a long time. Soaking up their skills and experiences has motivated me to come back and put what I learned into action here, with the determination to keep developing as an activist and empower others the way I have felt empowered and welcomed since joining Scottish Labour.

A recurring theme identified at the academy was the huge importance of blending those with years of experience and skills with those who are new but have fresh ideas and drive, in order to strengthen and take our party forward.

Working in smaller groups provided the opportunity to seek a better understanding and insight into how to structure and frame a campaign and put campaigning ideas and skills into action.

The academy highlighted that the best and most successful campaigning must be achievable and have a clearly defined outcome in mind. Getting results has a bigger influence on communities, and will help reconnect those communities with Labour rather than over-promising and under-delivering.

However, what struck me most was that across the party the best and most effective campaigns are those that started locally, at the grassroots of our towns and communities. Local campaigning first got me active in politics, and I am determined to have Scottish Labour at the heart of more local campaigns, because it is here that we will be able to identify future leaders and strengthen our party.

Right across our communities and towns there are leaders with passion, expertise and interest in particular issues but they don’t associate themselves with Labour or indeed any political party. This weekend made me think about how much more we should be reaching into communities, championing Labour values in our message and ensuring we are at the forefront of local campaigns.

Overall the academy provided us with the confidence and ambition to play our part in empowering and inspiring people across communities, and demonstrated why we need a Labour government and Labour Party representation at all levels.


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9 thoughts on “Inspiration, energy and enthusiasm – what happened at Labour Young Activist Academy

  1. What it highlights the most is the fact that there is only 1 Labour party in the UK and its run from London.

  2. ” At the grassroots”. As we have seen in recent years, and campaigns, Scottish Labour doesn’t have much at local level.
    “Over-promising, under-delivering”—-anyone told Jackie Baillie?
    “Blending those with years of experience”—well, Scottish Labour is certainly well endowed with lots and lots of time serving loafers, watching the world go by.
    While I wouldn’t want any young person handcuffed to most of them, it seems as if many have simply disappeared from the scene.
    Has something suspicious happened?
    Are the police involved?
    Or are they “anywhere but Scotland”, lying on a beach counting their i’ll gotten pay offs?

  3. It will take more than a weekend in a group of young socialst dreamers to breath any sort of life back in to the labour movement. You would have been better spending your time and money going to halfords and buying a bike pump as that is the only way you have of giving an already dead organisation some CPR. You really need to get out of your doll filled bedroom and have a look around you, in england, wales and more so in Scotland the red tories are dead as a dodo. The only time you see or hear from the over experienced old guard is when they have an itchy backside and want you to scratch it for them before they fall back into their homemade failed oblivion and coming back up to empart a few words of quite orchestrated lies and riding off into the sun set. Did gogsie broon stay to hear the result of the election or did he wander off leaving his sucessor to face the music on his own, where is dougie alexander? Iain mckenzie? margaret curren? jim murphy? et al…nowhere to be seen or heard leaving you to pick up the pieces and with no hope and no explanation of why they ran down Scotland or why they betrayed the Scottish people by standing shoulder to shoulder with the blue tories. Even now the red tory labour party stand with the blue tories, maybe you should have been given an explanation at your weekend bunty meeting and then you would have some sort of idea as to why you are flogging a dead horse.

  4. “championing Labour values in our message”

    Erin are the Labour values you refer to like this example that the majority of the Labour Party MPs abstaining on the Conservatives’ controversial Welfare Bill last summer is this what you mean?

  5. I think the enthusiasm of youth in Scottish politics – for whatever party, has to be applauded and stands Scotland well for it’s future. So good on Erin and I wish her well.

  6. All those young activists and campaigners need to learn the valuable lessons of not repeating the mistakes of their predecessors. No more scare stories, no more lying to people on their own doorsteps because people dollies being lied to and especially not on their own doorstep. They also need to understand that the people of Scotland have changed, they are more in tune with politics and have a better understanding of the way it works, so donut Ray and pull the wool over their eyes unless you are prepared to get stick for it.

    People are not happy with the same old attitude of politicians whereby the only time they see them is when there is an election looming and they are looking for your vote. And what makes people really angry is the fact that these MP’s once elected retreat from sight especially Westminster MP’s who are happy to live the life of luxury in London while problems in their constituents are suffering under unjust policies.

    People are no longer willing to put up with a Labour Party in Westminster either abstaining on Tory policies or voting them through with the tories, these are the policies that are hurting the very people that voted for you. People in Scotland have shown their disapproval of Labour in the voting booths and it may become worse in the local elections next yea

    Labour in Scotland want the Scottish government to plug the EU funding gap that will be created by Brexit but it’s easy to say when you are not in government and are not responsible for a countries spending. Does Kezia want money taken from other sections of spending so that they then have a funding gap or is the idea to raise taxes of the hard working families who are already struggling to make ends meet with frozen wages, family benefit freezes, zero hour contracts or wage cuts and is she aware that UK wages are on par to those of Greece.

    If all those enthusiastic young labour activists and campaigners keep in mind that Scotland has had enough and start listening instead of reading and then parroting Jim Murphy’s guidebook on how to win voters round then they may be the saving grace of Labour in Scotland.

  7. What is telling about this article (in my opinion) is the proliferation of buzz-words, jargon and stock phrases that you would find in any document that sought to “big up” a policy or event. The event could have been a depressingly shambolic affair and this article would still have been put out to give the impression of a vibrant organisation with a future. It could have been written with a copy of “How to Spin for Dummies” open at the appropriate page beside the author.

    The management in my workplace are forever putting out documents like this, full of buzz_words, jargon and “positive” stock phrases. We’ve all learned to ignore them as we know they bear little resemblance to reality.

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