This opinion is from Sean Davey, and has also been posted at LibDemVoice.

With nominations closing on January 4th, Liberal Youth will be electing a new Chair, and several new members of the Exec team leading it forward in 2013. Thanks to the hard work and diligence of Acting Chair Harry Matthews these elections (and positions) will be online and open to all Lib Dem members who are aged 16-25, or registered students.

The New Year offers an opportunity for renewal and a new direction for our youth wing, but equally there is a risk of simply “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic”.

A number of us have expressed frustrations with Liberal Youth in recent years: we are nowhere near diverse enough, we should be out campaigning much more, and our energies are too often aimed inwards instead of getting the message out on campuses across the UK and winning over new members.

But we can and should choose to be optimistic about our future. If we can engage a committed and dynamic new team then we can overcome the challenges we face and set Liberal Youth on the right course for 2013 and beyond.

So this is a shout-out to all of you who have stayed away from Liberal Youth in the past, or raised your concerns from the sideline: come into the tent and help us change and reform from within.

Whether standing for an exec position, or getting active in your own area, join us in the fight against apathy, in re-gaining ground with students and promoting our achievements to the public. Help us break out of the bunker and turn Liberal Youth into the fun, diverse and vibrant movement it should be.

Sean Davey is the Chair of London Liberal Youth. You can follow him on twitter @SeanDaveyEsq.

This article is solely the views of the author and should not be taken as the views of Liberal Youth, the Liberal Democrats, nor the committee of the University of Birmingham Liberal Democrats


Help run Liberal Youth

We’re looking for energised individuals who want to help run Liberal Youth – maybe it could be you!

The positions that are open are:

Campaigns Officer
Communications Officer
International Officer
Membership Development Officer
Non Portfolio Officer

You can read more about these roles on Page 21 of our Constitution.

To nominate yourself, please send the following details to our Returning Officer with the Subject: ‘Liberal Youth Elections’:

• Name
• Membership Number
• Position standing for
• Email Address
• Telephone Number
• Postal Address
• Nominations from 2 Liberal Youth Members (Name & Membership No.)
• An election statement of no more than 200 words

Nominations close on 4th January 2013 at 6pm.


Nick Clegg’s New Year Message 2013

When Mo Farah approached the final stretch of the 10,000m final, who wasn’t up on their feet, screaming at the TV?

When Nicola Adams beamed at the crowd after winning the first ever women’s Olympic boxing, who didn’t smile back? I was lucky enough to be there, and that’s one I’ll never forget.

Was there anything more British than that drenched choir in the Jubilee River Pageant, singing Rule Britannia! in the pouring rain?

Incredible images. Spectacular shows. Jaw-dropping personal triumphs.
And, above all, a year defined by shared experiences and national spirit too.

As for 2013, there will be more great moments, I’m sure.
And some big challenges as well.
Many families are still feeling the squeeze.
Look at the world around us and you see continuing economic uncertainty – particularly in our European backyard.
We are living through fluid, difficult times.

What I can tell you is that, whatever 2013 throws at us…
The Liberal Democrats will continue to anchor this Coalition in the centre ground…
And we will hold firm to our key purpose in this government:
The Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy, in a fairer society, enabling every person to get on in life.

Over the holidays people want a break from politics as much as from work – I know that.
But as you look to the year ahead, you also deserve the reassurance that your government has a plan to steer the country onto better times – and that we’re going to stick to it.

So I want you to hear it from me, on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, that this Coalition Government is not going to lurch one way or the next.
We will stay the course on the deficit.
We will cut income tax bills and help with childcare bills.
We will invest in boosting jobs and we’ll reform welfare to get people into work.
A stronger economy.
A fairer society.
Where everyone can get on.
That’s what we’re about.
That’s what I want 2013 to be about.
And, however you usher it in, I hope you have a fantastic time…
Happy New Year.

It’s time we told the truth…we are losing the war on drugs on an industrial scale

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has declared that it is time to rethink the UK’s approach to drugs policy.

Days after a report by MPs that called for a Royal Commission to look at UK drug laws, Nick admitted the UK is ‘losing the war on drugs on an industrial scale’ and called for the UK to look at examples from overseas of what works to tackle drug addiction and drug-related crime.
Speaking to The Sun newspaper, Nick Clegg said: “It’s time we told the truth.
“In politics, as in life, you can’t keep on doing something that doesn’t work. You can’t keep repeating the same mistakes.”
“If you were waging any other war where you have 2,000 fatalities a year, your enemies are making billions in profits, constantly throwing new weapons at you and targeting more young people — you’d have to say you are losing and it’s time to do something different.
“I’m anti-drugs — it’s for that reason I’m pro reform.”
“Politicians admit the war on drugs is not working.
“But when they’re in government, they say everything is fine.
“We’ve got to level with the British people and tell them what many people already know — it’s time to do something different.”
Nick also admitted that he disagrees with the Prime Minister on this issue.
He said: “I was disappointed that the Home Office ruled out an open-minded, level-headed look at all this before the ink had even dried on the committee report.
“I told the Prime Minister that this was a missed opportunity.
“He knows my views on this. He and I don’t agree on this.”
Nick has asked Liberal Democrat Home Office minister Jeremy Browne to review different approaches to tackling drug addiction and crime overseas, including those used in Portugal and the Netherlands.
He added: “Let’s look at what works elsewhere. I’m going to make sure we look properly at the evidence in this Parliament.”
You can read Nick Clegg’s full interview with The Sun here.

David Laws – Schools get more Pupil Premium funding

The Coalition Government has today announced how much Pupil Premium money each school in England will receive in 2013/14.

The cash targets extra money to schools depending on the number of children from disadvantaged backgrounds they have. The Pupil Premium is a major Liberal Democrat priority that is being delivered by the Coalition Government.

The Pupil Premium will be worth a total of £1.65bn, or £900 per child, in 2013/14. It covers any primary or secondary school pupil that has been registered for Free School Meals in the past six years.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Schools Minister, David Laws said:

Liberal Democrats are building a strong economy and a fair society where everyone can get ahead. Education is absolutely at the heart of that. “The Pupil Premium is extra support for the children who need it the most, whether it is catch-up classes, one-to-one tuition, extra IT support – whatever the school thinks best. “Helping the most disadvantaged children helps every child. Fewer children falling behind means less disruption in class and a better education for everyone.

By 2015, the Pupil Premium will be worth a total of £2.5bn a year to schools in England.

The Pupil Premium was one of four policy priorities that the Liberal Democrats put on the front page of their 2010 General Election manifesto. The others were raising the point at which you start paying Income Tax to £10,000 to give people on low and middle incomes a £700 tax cut; creating jobs by making Britain greener; and measures to clean up politics. The Pupil Premium was one of the key measures argued for by Liberal Democrats during the Coalition negotiations.

A little bit about our society

The University of Birmingham Liberal Democrats is the student body representing the Liberal Democrats at the University of Birmingham .

Formerly known as the Birmingham University Liberal Club, the society was relaunched in the 2005 academic year. There is reason to believe that the University of Birmingham Liberal Club is perhaps one of the oldest societies on campus, having been formed in the second decade of the twentieth-century.

The Society has a committee made up of a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. Details of these can be found on the The Committee page on the toolbar above.