Calling time on pints and local politics?

A young member of the Labour Party has called on the general secretary to consider ending the “toxic” and “corrosive” culture of serving alcohol during constituency meetings, while the social gathering of another party, ‘Lib Dem Pint’ has also been queried.

Writing for LabourList, Nona Buckley-Irvine, assistant national officer at trade union organisation Unison and a Labour Party member in Crawley, argued that, “as long as Labour allows booze at meetings, it’ll never be inclusive of women”.

She said that the culture of drinking at constituency meetings she had witnessed in Crawley was “corrosive” and only by ending the practice would the party become, “truly inclusive of women and other minorities”.

She explained that at past events: “Older men would drink, shout over one another and over women, and speak at length with no particular point to make.”

She drew a direct conclusion between the serving of alcohol at these meetings and the lack of women in the party structure, adding she had been shouted down when she tried to raise a motion banning alcohol and when it was proposed a second time it was “denounced as ‘evil and wicked’.”

Pointing to the fact that Trade Union bodies and other professions do not allow drink during work meetings, Buckley-Irvine concluded: “As the party attempts to move forward following #LabourToo, it should go beyond a strictly procedural approach, with complaints and regulations there to monitor members behaviour. It needs to engage in cultural reform, and banning alcohol from meetings is a significant part of ensuring that the party is welcoming to all and would mitigate the risks that consumption of alcohol poses to others.”

Meanwhile, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, has also suggested that the name of the party’s social meet-up ‘Lib Dem Pint’, wasn’t sufficiently inclusive either.

Speaking at a Grassroots for Women panel at the Social Market Foundation, Swinson said: “I’m not saying women can’t drink pints, but I suspect that if you look at the Venn diagram of people most likely to drink pints it’s not majority women.

“And personally, if you’d had ‘Lib-Dem Prosecco’, I’d have thought that would be way more inviting.”

One Response to “Calling time on pints and local politics?”

  1. J says:

    Maybe they should call it Lib-Dem-Drink and that would be “inclusive” of all alcoholic beverages. I don’t think they should throw the baby out with the bath water. In the end, if you can’t outwit a lager lout, you might consider a new profession.

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