An extensive interview with Tom Sedman. The conversation ranged from Brexit to young people’s involvement in local politics.
To view the article, please click on the image below to be re-directed to the page.
I’m Tom Parkin, an eighteen year old Labour member from Evesham in Worcestershire. I am currently studying for my A-levels and hope to study international relations at university.
My Labour history
I first campaigned for Labour at eleven and joined the party on my fourteenth birthday, the earliest I could join. I have been the Mid-Worcestershire CLP Youth Officer since 2015 and am heavily involved in local politics. My interests surround rural politics and the strengthening Labour’s hand in rural areas that we need to win in order to put Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street come the next election.
Two months ago, I represented my Mid-Worcs CLP at the annual party conference. This was the first time I had been exposed to the energy of the national party in one place. Conference was a wonderful experience and I particuarly enjoyed the fringe events where policy could be openly discussed and challenged between ordinary members. This energy has enthused me to become more involved in our movement.
However, during the week, I did notice that the national party is very London-centric. It seems to be operated by Londoners, for Londoners. To me, it seemed the needs of rural communities like mine had been left off the agenda.
My candidacy is here to change that.
I do not approve of factionalism in our party. It helps nobody but the opposition. I will work with anyone that calls themself ‘Labour’. I am therefore, a member of no faction. I will support the leader, whoever that may be. I am a proud member of Young Labour and LGBT Labour.
CLP nominations close this weekend. Please consider voting #parkin4nec.
For more information, please visit facebook.com/parkin4nec or on twitter @tompjparkin
Mid-Worcestershire CLP were pleased to host Barry Gardiner MP as our key speaker at this year’s AGM. Mr Gardiner is the Member of Parliament for Brent North and is a current member of the shadow cabinet.
Mr Gardiner spoke about the electoral challenges that face the party and how the Labour membership can best work with the PLP to change electoral ‘success’ into a total electoral ‘victory’. Barry finished the visit with an extensive Q&A on issues surrounding Brexit, the mood of the PLP and the importance of local labour activism.
At the AGM, I was successfully re-elected Youth Officer for a third term (2017/18). For the next year, I wish to build on our constituency’s existing campaign strategy and help better our use of Labour’s digital tools. I hope to learn more about Labour’s digital platform from various fringe events at the party conference between 24th-27th September. Advice from Labour members and friends outside the party on this issue would be greatly welcomed.
I am also one of three official delegates, representing the Mid-Worcestershire CLP at conference later this week. Throughout conference, I will be posting updates, videos, reviews and opinion pieces on this blog and via Twitter. Please stay in touch with those.
In Britain, it’s clear: there is NO existing parity between mental and physical health. Funding for mental health services in five English regions has been reduced by £4.5m. The crisis is particularly difficult for students and young adults. Since 2006, the number of students disclosing a mental health condition to their university has increased from 3,000 to over 15,000 in 2015/16, according to the IPPR.
This is unacceptable.
The brief of the Secretary of State for Health is too large for the minister to effectively deal with physical and mental health provision across the UK. The government has already recognised the difficulties of over burdening a single department with responsibilities through Brexit – creating two new departments to cope with the workload.
Why isn’t this the same for the UK’s mental health crisis?
Appointing an equal, independent and accountable Secretary of State with an allocated budget from the Chancellor is one step towards improving conditions for those already suffering a mental health condition. It is also important to reducing stigma which itself, prevents thousands if not millions from accessing support. In the UK in 2016, <5,700 died by suicide and 1-in-15 have attempted suicide at some point in their lives. We must do more. Although Self-harm and suicide are not mental health problems in themselves, they are linked to mental distress.
“Appoint a Secretary of State for Mental Health, independent of and equal to the Secretary of State for Health. The Mental Health Secretary would be held accountable by parliament and have access to ring-fenced funding like any other government department. They would be responsible for improving the access to and provision of mental health treatment across the UK.
Currently, the Health Department has no dedicated minister for mental health. This makes it more difficult to tackle the growing mental health crisis and without an independent Secretary of State, there is a growing lack of accountability.
Mental health and mental distress is on the rise in the UK, particularly amongst children. Self-harm and suicide are not mental health problems in themselves, but are linked to mental distress. In the UK in 2016, <5,700 died by suicide and 1-in-15 have attempted suicide at some point in their lives. We must do more. This is one step to improving mental health conditions in the UK.”
From 24th-27th September, I will represent the Mid-Worcestershire constituency Labour Party at this year’s annual party conference in Brighton.
This is a fantastic opportunity for MPs, peers, councillors, party chiefs, members and delegates to get together, share experiences, policy ideas and organise for an exceptionally busy electoral and legislative year ahead.
Over the four days, I will be posting updates, photos, videos and interviews on my blog – so keep an eye out!
If you have been to conference before, any suggestions on what to see would be greatly appreciated. Otherwise, if you have anything you would like to ask others attending conference or would like me to bring back some material for you, please contact me via this blog and I would be glad to help.