Mandatory Reselection Aids Representation By Lily Madigan

For the uninitiated, mandatory reselection is the idea that Labour MPs should have to convince their local members to reselect them to run for parliament before every general election.

For some this is controversial but being an MP is an important role with a lot of responsibility and a big pay cheque to match. This shouldn’t be a factional issue, as it is so often framed, but a reflection of the very party these MPs claim to represent.

It is about meritocracy, democracy and the fundamental truth that we should have the best Labour members on our benches.

I hope I’m not alone in assuming these ‘best Labour members’ might just so happen to not be a group for the most part; comprised of old, white, cis straight men.

Young people are a perfect place to start.

Labour’s membership has surged since Corbyn became leader, bringing a new focus to the political power young people possess.

We are the activists on the ground doing door-to-door canvassing and leafleting, making a difference in marginal seats and university towns.

We saw ourselves represented in Labour’s 2017 manifesto that promised to abolish our tuition fees, fund our mental health services and create housing that we would have a hope of affording.

The political landscape has undoubtedly changed in our favour so why shouldn’t the makeup of our MPs?

The average age of an MP is 50, with only 14 (2%) aged 18–29, and the Labour Party having the most MPs over the age of 60.

It’s unsurprising just how badly we’ve had it politically when the reality is we are horribly outmatched. It’s essential the value we bring to our Party is recognised.

We will suffer most from the depredation capitalism has caused our environment.

It’s us who must endure the mistakes of the financial sector, rescued by mortgaging our future.

It’s the young who will live harder lives than our parents because of the neo-liberalism pedalled by the Tories and the last Labour government. We are disproportionately likely to be in unpaid internships, zero hours jobs, and when we can get a job we are paid less than older people for the same work.

We see a similar phenomena across other minority groups as well; women; those with disabilities; BAME and LGBT people, all suffer from a lack of representation in Parliament and would benefit from mandatory reselection.

The reality is the most secure seats will continue to be held by the same people unless something changes.

This lack of representation hinders the policies we create.

For example, a massive issue facing LGBT people is homelessness but without an adequate amount of LGBT people with voting privileges and a voice in Parliament, we receive inadequate consideration. This is worse at the intersections of groups, for example, disabled trans people suffer both from inadequate access to housing period, as well as a lack of accessible housing.

The reason we must fight so hard for tuition fees; affordable housing; decent jobs; and things like adequately funded mental health services, is because we are systematically underrepresented in the House of Commons.

Minority representation will transform British society, but we need to be on the benches and we need the chance to compete with other members for the limited number of seats within our party.

Mandatory reselection should be a priority for anyone passionate about increasing representation, not simply to meet a numbers game, but because with it the political priorities of this country will shift markedly in our favour — and ultimately, they will shift left.

Individutopia – Joss Sheldon: A Review By Lisa Mulholland

Individutopia is a novel set in a neoliberal dystopia with Renee as the main character.

From the first page I knew I’d love this novel. I had a feeling that it would evoke emotion and re -awaken the radical in me.

And I was right because that is exactly what it did.

And it might just do the same for you;

Have you ever sat there and looked at what ‘society’ has become?

Ever wondered about the erosion of community?

Ever wondered how it all changed, where it all started?

Do you ever look around at people chained to their phones, not interacting with one another and think to yourself ‘where will this all end?’

I know I have. And if you have too, then this story is for you.

It creates a fictional future by combining features of the worst aspects of our present day with the building blocks of Thatchers vision of individualism and neoliberalism back in 1979.

With this, Joss Sheldon has created a neoliberal dystopian future.

It takes us on a journey that is so horribly unimaginable but scarily feels possible in some way.

It’s fiction. But it’s believable and it feels like a glimpse into the future.

When 1984 by George Orwell was released, I am pretty sure that most people at that time thought it was far fetched and could ‘never happen’. Yet here we are today with many features of the novel now part of our lives…. and then some!

I sympathised with the main character and the hopelessness of her situation. The way she is a slave to the system is portrayed so realistically.

While I lived through Renee’s plight, there were points where I felt compelled to shout “wake up and see what’s around you , break the mould, don’t be a slave to the system” but as I found myself willing Renee to do these things , I started to question myself too.

It struck a chord with me about living life to the fullest and I guarantee that if you read this it will with you too; because we are all Renee to some extent.

I did not want this story to end.

I grew attached to the main character. Her hopes, dreams and fears were easily identifiable.

It’s certainly thought provoking and it is one of those stories that will stay with me.

For me it was an epiphany in a book!

The book is on general release today. Read and enjoy this masterpiece and take a little bit of it away with you too.

Is this the modern day 1984? Read it and decide for yourself!