Matt J Mclaren
My name’s Matt and I’m about to finish studying for my BA in Philosophy at Heythrop College. I’ve been a member of the Liberal Democrats and Liberal Youth for 8 of the last 11 years, first joining in 2000 and then leaving the party in 2007 when I first embarked on a career philosophy. This was primarily to free me to ‘think the unthinkable’, unburdened by particular political allegiances. Nonetheless, after 3 years of research and contemplation in political and other philosophy, I decided that it was time to get properly involved once again, just before the 2010 General Election. During my many years as a party member I’ve held official posts on local and regional party executives, and am about to assume the role of Vice-Chair of Haringey Liberal Democrats in January. I have also held non-partisan posts of various kinds, including being Chair of my 6th Form’s Student Council, a College Governor, Vice-President of Canterbury Hall JCR, and Mature Students’ Officer at Heythrop Students’ Union. In addition, I was asked earlier this year to represent the Yes campaign in a debate against Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP on the AV Referendum hosted by Heythrop. At the conclusion of my studies I will have some decisions to make about my next steps, but in any event I hope to get as involved as I can in party politics, and with Liberal Youth in particular, as time permits.
Heythrop is the specialist philosophy and theology college of the University of London. As such it is quite small, with only several hundred undergraduates. Unfortunately that makes it rather unfeasible to set up a formal Liberal Youth branch there. Nonetheless, Heythrop Students’ Union did pass a motion I proposed earlier this year to oppose the vilification of Liberal Democrats over the issue of fees, note the failures of both Labour and the Tories to deliver for students, and to commit the Union to oppose over-criticising the Liberal Democrats on the issue of student funding in organisations to which it sends delegations. At the same time the Union also passed a motion of my drafting committing them to change to a preferential voting system for their own internal elections.
Heythrop Liberal Youth
At the moment no such group exists, due to the small size of the college and difficulty for setting up such a group that this presents. However, if you have a connection to Heythrop and would like to help try to set something up please do get in touch. I plan to keep an ‘associate member’ status with the Student Union here even after I finish my studies at the end of this calendar year so that I can assist with this in the event that we can find more people interested in joining up and supporting our activities.