Our ‘Spotlight On’ series aims to help members get to know local activists and post-holders as well as explaining a bit about the different roles within our local party. In this first entry we have spoken to Will, who has held the post of Chipping Barnet Labour Party Chairperson for around a year.
Will first became involved in Labour at the young age of 16, at a time when the National Front were planning to march through an area of Preston which was populated with a large Indian and Subcontinental community. Taking part in the counter protest against racism and fascism, Will met many Labour members and socialist activists, leading him to join the party.
Throughout his life Will has remained passionate about social equality, both in his working and personal life. He has worked as part of the Campaign Against Arms Trade, the National Children’s Bureau and the Child Poverty Action Group. He was also involved in building the charity ‘Careleavers’ Association’ which he was chair of.
His extensive experience of building and chairing organisations lead him to stand as Chair of Chipping Barnet Labour Party where he has used his skills to try and develop a positive and inclusive culture.
The post of Chair focuses primarily on communication and organisation. Will spends a lot of time speaking with members of the party, listening to views, resolving difficulties and, of course, charing meetings. Organising meetings is a large part of the role, and Will is dedicated to making sure meetings such as the monthly All Members Meetings run fairly, transparently and on time. Will feels that meetings starting and finishing on schedule is hugely important to the democratic process – this allows people to plan childcare, disabled members to make the needed arrangements and allows everyone to ensure they can be part of the entire meeting if they have planned to be. Will also cares a lot about keeping things friendly so discussion on serious topics can take place in a respectful and productive manner.
Will stresses that the role of the Chairperson is not to make major decisions independently, but to facilitate decisions being made in a democratic manner at All Members Meetings and Executive Committee meetings.
Looking to the future, we spoke with Will about what he would like to see happen with the role in future. He told us that he hopes whoever is elected Chairperson at the next Annual General Meeting (AGM) works hard on building a party which has its roots in the local community and campaigns for socialist ideas. He is pleased that people have started talking about socialism again as a good idea and his vision of the future is a world in which resources are distributed on the basis of need rather than individual wealth. He believes in a democratic and egalitarian society, true social equality is possible. He hopes that the role of chair can continue to be instrumental in building an inclusive, active campaigning party which and that despite our recent disappointment in local elections, by continuing to mobilise members and listening to what is important to ordinary people, we have a real chance to unseat Theresa Villiers and build a fairer Barnet.
When Will isn’t busy with politics and activism, he is a huge fan of cinema and loves to spend time cooking for his partner, Sue. Having studied history at university, Will maintains a fascination with how radically society has changed over the ages. This fuels his hope for a brighter, fairer future.