Ashley Kelly Sevenoaks CLP Youth Officer

Sevenoaks CLP Youth Officer Report

A surreal experience from socialism to radical centrism

Whilst pervading the idea of being boring political events used for spin and policy platforms, Party Conferences are surprisingly not so. Take one CND fringe event for example: One rally full of mainly over 50s and those some might perceive as the ‘old guard’ yet; I’ve never witnessed a place feel so alive. Alive with ideas, debates and passionate socialist ideas. People of all ages not just listening to ‘suits’ but instead being inspired and transformed throughout Conference.

I never understood why Ed Miliband’s team cried when he resigned. However, five days of Conference and I can understand why people can attach such emotion to five years of belief, passion and thirst for genuine change in our society. Even the often lamented Progress had a really thought provoking debate about the future of politics after Brexit. From a members point of view, while the media may reflect on the Party badly, for the aforementioned reasons, it’s been fabulous. To all at Sevenoaks CLP whether a passionate supporter or vehement detractor of the direction of the Labour Party at present, I would advise each and every one of you to do three things:

  1. Attend Conference at some point. You will not regret meeting people you both agree and disagree with. This will allow you to meet people you can debate with and consolidate or broaden your own personal ideas (next year it’s Brighton so no excuses).
  2. Be open minded. This may sound ‘rich’ coming from a dogmatic 17-year-old however, to truly immerse yourself and broaden your understanding of Labour politics as I have, you must be open minded.
  3. Continue the growth of Sevenoaks CLP and Swanley Labour Party. I’ve spoken to about 20 different CLPs ranging from Buckinghamshire to The Highlands and one thing continually came up-People were inspired by what we were doing. While other CLPs had seen a growth in membership, they had not seen a growth in participation. We have! For these reasons it is clear we must merely continue on the path we are treading as even two Jehovah’s Witnesses were impressed by what we had achieved in Sevenoaks.

To conclude this is to all in Swanley and Sevenoaks, be inspired and engage with politics as the Party has never been so open and easy to explore and engage with.


Ashley Kelly.
Sevenoaks CLP Youth Officer

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