Liam Young

Liam Young

Liam Young

Liam Young was born and raised in Lincoln, attending St Peter and St Paul's Catholic Academy. He is currently a student at the London School of Economics and a political commentator for the Independent, New Statesman and Sky News.


Lincoln is a very special place for me. It’s my home, but it is also where my strong opinions and beliefs were formed. Some may disagree with these opinions and beliefs on a political level, but I believe the strong conviction with which I hold them is part of what it means to be from Lincoln.

We are a fierce people – fiercely loyal and fiercely driven. There has always been a real working class spirit about our city. I was born into a working class family and I went to school with working class kids whose parents all worked hard to give us what they could. We never really went without – despite not having the earth – partly because of the connection many had with their local neighbourhoods and local communities.

It’s this bond of community spirit and working class spirit that formed my beliefs as I was growing up in Lincoln. I attended St Peter and St Paul’s Catholic School at a time when it was incredibly underfunded and seriously undervalued. Though I was from a working class background, many students at the school were literally on or below the poverty line. The truth is that many – including myself at some points – were kept on track down to the passionate dedication of the school’s staff.

In this environment I realised the inequality that remains rife within our society. And I realised it where it was most sharp and most obvious – within the lives of young people, victims of nothing other than where they were born. It was here that I realised my rebellious streak and my contempt for the political system that entrenched and supported the poverty of some for the benefit of the few.

It was also working at Sports Direct in St Mark’s that made me so determined to fight for working class young people. There was nothing wrong with the people I worked with. But there was everything wrong with the employment situation that we found ourselves in. Terrible wages paid in exchange for rights at work is hardly a great deal for young people entering the work place. Though many say that young people lose their radical edge when they start working, it was working that radicalised me. The rise of zero hours contracts, of an hourly wage of a few pounds for young people and the trampling of work place rights remain a scar on modern Britain.

I then headed out of Lincoln to London for university. Here I was offered some amazing opportunities. I have written for national newspapers, appeared as a commentator on national news shows and have been at the forefront of campaigning for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. And I have also had this amazing opportunity to write my book, Rise, which I will be speaking about tonight at Waterstones at 18:30 on the High Street.

There is a nice symmetry to this. None of what I have achieved would have been possible without my upbringing in our special city. As with any achievement much of it was down to the help and contribution of other people. I’ll always be grateful for the contribution Lincoln made to making me who I am. Now, I am sure many Conservatives in the city might think otherwise! But that’s fine. One thing we can all be united on is our appreciation of the passion that our city brings. It certainly ignited a passion in me.

Liam Young was born and raised in Lincoln, attending St Peter and St Paul's Catholic Academy. He is currently a student at the London School of Economics and a political commentator for the Independent, New Statesman and Sky News.

The Tory decision to plunge Lincoln into darkness shows the reality of the harm that national cuts force on local communities.

The £18 billion cut to local authority budgets between 2010 and 2015 was enough to deny over 150,000 pensioners access to the vital services they need across the country. At the same time council services saw an average of an 8% reduction in the money spent on child protection services. Whatever your age – the national Conservative government is failing local communities like ours in Lincoln.

Faced with a massive £65 million budget cut, it is no surprise that our local services are being savaged. What is even more disgraceful is that Karl McCartney, our local MP, has consistently voted in support of the Tory plan to cut funding to local government.

Though I welcome that McCartney has called on the county council to reverse their decision to turn off some streetlights at 10pm, his time would be better spent putting his words into action by voting against any more cuts to our local services.

There is something rather ridiculous that in one of the largest economies in the world we cannot even keep our street lights switched on for the safety of the public at night.

Despite the Prime Minister telling us that our economy is stronger than ever, local communities face more and more cuts which serve as a reminder of the impact a backward Tory government can have on the places we call home.

Lincolnshire County Council’s excuse for the street light switch-off is that “there is no statutory duty for the county council to provide street lighting”. Perhaps this is legally accurate – but what sort of society are we living in where this excuse is even necessary?

Councillor Richard Davies – defending the decision – put it best when he said that due to Tory cuts “we cannot provide services at the level we have been doing.” This is another sorry excuse.

These people are fully aware of the impact their policies have on local communities. They stood on manifestos and platforms that supported national Tory policy. They should therefore own up to the current situation and be frank with local people when it comes to explaining where responsibility for this stupid policy rests.

I’ve always believed the Tory party to be from the dark ages but the continuation of this plan to plunge Lincoln into the dark stands as proof that it is.

As we become more and more warped by national and international politics it is important to remember that issues like this in our own city define real politics.

At the end of the day, policies and plans impact real people and real lives. It’s nothing short of a disgrace that we cannot keep out streets lit at a time when the rich become ever richer. It is necessary that we hold both local Tory councillors and the national Tory government to account.

If they are turning the lights off today, what on earth will they be planning to cut tomorrow?

Liam Young was born and raised in Lincoln, attending St Peter and St Paul's Catholic Academy. He is currently a student at the London School of Economics and a political commentator for the Independent, New Statesman and Sky News.