THE HORRORS OF DENIAL

To the individual observer, reality is never perfectly clear. On Holocaust Memorial Day (Sunday January 27th) we are left again asking how modern society could ever have witnessed the worst events of the Second World War. Unless, of course, you believe that it never happened at all.

As the last remaining survivors of the Holocaust pass away, so a link to the recorded past is weakened. I worry that the falling numbers of witnesses to the mass slaughter of the Nazi death camps may embolden the Holocaust deniers, or ‘revisionists’, as some prefer to be called. It’s hard to dismiss their particular conspiracy theory as harmless.

It’s not only the Iranian president who’s been brainwashed. Three years ago I was sitting in my A level history class, defending established fact against another boy who was having a worrying amount of success convincing his fellow students that six million dead was an exaggeration. The trouble is that without having done the research, a Holocaust denier can convince you that questions remain unanswered.

We should, of course, always learn to be critical. Aside from the friends we make and the resistance to alcohol that we build up, the chief benefit of a university education should be the ability to evaluate; to challenge previous assumptions and not swallow everything we’re told.

It is right, therefore, that we should examine events such as the Holocaust with a critical eye and continue to question existing beliefs. New evidence and theories from the past sixty years of historical analysis have continually revised our understanding of how, why, and in what circumstances the mass killing of Jews and other minorities was able to take place.

It is, however, this very critical reasoning that should steer us away from ‘Holocaust revisionist’ theories that reverse proper methodology and seek to offer a complete and unequivocal explanation of history. The problem with Holocaust deniers like David Irving is that, unlike historians, they do not accept that their results may differ from their hypotheses. They begin with a belief that the extermination of Jews did not take place; they then search for evidence and will defend their conclusion whether or not the facts support their case.

Because all the facts points to mass extermination, Holocaust deniers must find a way to dismiss the evidence. Their denial rests on one main assumption: that the Western powers and ‘world Jewry’ conspired to fabricate the Holocaust in order to justify their war against Hitler, establish a Jewish state, or even take over the world. This is when it all starts getting a bit silly.

Always ask yourself about the motives. Holocaust denial is not about objectively establishing the facts of history. It’s no coincidence that many deniers are neo-fascists. With the end of the Second World War, Nazism was exposed as a political ideology that allowed brutality on a massive scale. The fascists had lost power and credibility. If the Holocaust could be shown as a hoax, then, for some, fascism may be that much less repulsive.

Ironically, the existence of deniers may reassure the rest of us that on January 27 we remember a real atrocity. We should surely be concerned if history were always presented as a clear-cut sequence of events devoid of debate and discussion. Always keep a critical and open mind. Challenge established belief and practice. Don’t, however, lose sight of reality.

Luke Pearce - Compass Youth



To mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2008 Anti-Fascist Magazine Searchlight has produced a 16-page special on Genocides. It looks at the background of the worst atrocities over the last 100 years and asks whether the phrase ‘Never Again’ is anything more than empty rhetoric. Searchlight has also set up a campaign to pressurise the Government to do more to seek an international settlement in Dafur. To support the campaign and get a free 16-page special on genocides click here

Towards a progressive immigration policy on Tuesday 29 Jan



When? Tuesday January 29 at 6.00-7.30 pm
Where? Committee Room 14, House of Commons

We’re delighted that our next debate will be on migration. The panel will include:

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne MP
Jon Cruddas MP
The Guardian’s Madeleine Bunting
Barrow Cadbury Trust Chief Executive Sukhvinder Stubbs
Don Flynn of the Migrants Rights Network
Neil Jameson from the Strangers into Citizens campaign

The event will be chaired by The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee.

See here for the ground breaking report, here for media coverage or here for our member's ideas on asylum and immigration.

If you would like to join our Asylum & Immigration Network please email youthchair@compassonline.org.uk.

Check map to get there

Thanks to Rikke for reminding us of this campaign ad

Join us in Spain to help campaign for Zapatero!

Compass Youth has organised a range of international activities throughout the year. We have built links with comrades right across Europe, campaigning in France, Ireland and Sweden and invited to the PASOK Youth Congress, the most popular youth conference in Europe to speak and provide advice on defeating the far right across Europe.

Compass Youth organised the International Youth Plenary at the 2007 Compass Conference, bringing delegates from different national youth organisations and comrades representing the International Union of Socialist Youth together to debate and educate about the role of youth movements in taking global action on issues common to young people worldwide.

Given that the progressive left is out of breath in Europe in the face of the increasing cultural hegemony of the right, it is critical that we work together on the ideas and the actions needed to deliver change.

We build coalitions on key issues through a "global reach, local impact" approach. Every major issue (and solution) has global reach and every global issue has local impact. Through better networking with our young political activities abroad, we can share learning on campaigning, finding local solutions to global issues and promoting a more social and democratic Europe by making it more relevant to people's everyday lives.

We have developed a campaign model whereby our "progressive soulmates" across Europe can regularly help each other win elections around Europe as well as prepare for the European elections in 2009.

Fight for a Zapatero Socialist Victory in Spain!


Now young socialists from all over Europe are invited to take part in the Spanish national elections campaign! Leading up to Election Day (9 March) young activists will be campaigning together with the Spanish young socialists, PSOE Youth - promoting Zapatero's vision on Europe through conferences and meetings. The costs for the trip and stay of the 20 participants will be covered.

It's a life time experience and a great way to expand your network to PES activists and young socialists. Already campaigns in Ireland and France have shown that an international exchange mixes fun, political action dedication and an experience you will never forget!

It's great that Compass Youth have a contribution to make in fighting for a Zapatero victory in Spain! If you speak Spanish, are between 18 and 25 years old and a member of a socialist party don't hesitate to send your application by 1 February

Progressive Soulmates TV - Get informed, get inspired, get involved

Add Progressive Soulmates to your page


Compass Youth aims to reach across the media, in pioneering innovative ways of promoting your ideas and activities!

We need to develop a deep understanding of the political and social issues so that we can organise for action in a way that ensures our campaigns influence not only Parliament but also our communities.

We want our agenda to be shaped not just by us, but by you! This will offer a chance for you to help us identify the up-and-coming causes we need to address.

Too often policy discussions and debates are unexciting and formulaic. We want to inspire energy and enthusiasm to the political debate, we want to share this enthusiasm and encourage it to develop not only within Compass Youth but with our “progressive soulmates” locally and across Europe – unlocking the conversations of the future.

Given that the progressive left is out of breath in Europe in the face of the increasing cultural hegemony of the right, it is critical that we work together on the ideas and the actions needed to deliver change.

We will build coalitions on key issues through a “global reach, local impact” approach. Every major issue (and solution) has global reach and every global issue has local impact. Through better networking with our young political activities abroad, we can share learning on campaigning, finding local solutions to global issues and promoting a more social and democratic Europe by making it more relevant to people’s everyday lives.

We have shows from different countries and campaigns across Europe. We also have a participative show where you can help submit ideas to the PES manifesto by video!

Hover your mouse over the top left hand corner of the screen and click on the channel guide.

Watch this space for more on Compass Youth TV - if you want to talk about an issue important to you and your community from a social democratic perspective or just about how you are living out your democratic and socialist values in you community then we want to hear about it! Contact youthchair@compassonline.org.uk for more information about filming.

Why vote Chuka for Streatham?



We are campaigning for Compass Youth member, Chuka Umunna to be selected as Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Streatham. If you want to support Chuka click here. Why?

1. A Local Boy

He is the only candidate standing in this parliamentary selection who grew up, went to school and (save for a brief stint away at University) has lived in Streatham all his life.

2. An Effective Campaigner

He has campaigned in every general, regional, European and local election since 1997 - both in Streatham and other parts of the country. As Vice Chair of Streatham CLP, he was actively involved in the planning of Streatham Labour’s general election campaign. Alongside his political campaigning, Ihe campaigns on youth issues - being a trustee of local and national youth charities – and has fought for greater diversity in employment, be it greater ethnic diversity in his own profession or to break down discriminatory obstacles to employment more widely.

3. An Experienced Representative

As a solicitor working in the employment law field, he represents and advocates on behalf of individuals and organisations every working day. Locally, he has assisted Keith with his advice surgeries for the past two years. He has also helped Skills Minister David Lammy at his surgeries when he worked for him some years ago.



4. A Member Focussed Candidate

Harold Wilson said “the Labour Party is a moral crusade or it is nothing”. Labour party members are the glue that holds this project together; it is they who ground the party in the communities it seeks to serve. This is why he strongly believes that members should be given a voice, as well as a vote. He has a track record of increasing member involvement – as Streatham CLP’s membership secretary over the last 4 years, he has tried to ensure that members are at the forefront of CLP activities and are listened to. Those of you who know him will know that he is someone who strives to proceed by consensus, as opposed to dictat.

5. A Team Labour Player

Working with local, regional and national decision makers to get the best for Streatham. In his role as a trustee of a local charity, he has worked and negotiated with senior officers of Lambeth’s Council. He has also worked with Labour officials and special advisors at 10 Downing Street, government departments and the Greater London Authority. In March 2006 he helped draft a speech which Tony Blair gave in the Streatham constituency, whilst still Prime Minister. Recently, he has also advised Gordon Brown on the key issues concerning the Black community as he prepared for interviews with the ‘Voice’ newspaper and other well established and popular selling publications from the ethnic media.

6. Someone with a Life Outside of Politics

Most of the people we want to represent do not live and breathe politics. He spent several years working in the world of business and commerce, domestically and internationally. His work as an employment law solicitor has taken him into various sectors and workplaces working for different employees (from the secretary to the Chief Executive) and employers (from the small family run shop to the multinational company). His charitable work has exposed him to other areas too.

7. A Winner

The local Liberal Democrats have picked a prospective parliamentary candidate that we know he can beat. He has a history of working hard to achieve his goals. He would relish working with Streatham’s members, our activists, our councillors, and the wider Streatham community, to hold our parliamentary seat for Labour and help Gordon Brown deliver a historic fourth term that Britain needs.

Watch his epic performance on Question Time here

COMPASS YOUTH POSTERS

Click on the downloads tab on the left. Go on.

MACHINES, MARKETS AND MORALS


Compass today sketches out a social-democratic route to NHS reform. Downloading the report for free is well worth it.

DOWNLOADS





POSTERS:

Download Compass Youth poster


Download Nelson Mandela poster

Download Nye Bevan poster

COMPASS YOUTH PES MANIFESTO CONSULTATION








During the year Compass Youth will be undertaking a consultation in conjunction with LME LSE and the Party of European Socialists to come up with some ideas to contribute towards the upcoming PES manifesto release.

Through PES Activists, the Your Space manifesto helps make connections that will keep social democratic parties in touch with the most creative, dynamic and innovative thinking in politics, but also enhance mutual understanding between activists across Europe and with our own communities.

If you have any ideas feel free to leave a comment; otherwise, please attend our upcoming events.

YourSpace means that the PES agenda won't just be shaped by the leadership of our national parties but by all members. Not only that it will also be inspired by people with an interest in what we do and who want to participate. This creative space will offer a chance for all to help us identify the up-and-coming policy challenges we need to address. This is why we, as PES activists have a great opportunity and a great responsibility - to engage those around us, our friends, families and neighbours to join the debate so that we can build support across the European electorate because we will have reflected the needs of all our citizens

This manifesto will inspire energy and enthusiasm to the political debate and we want to share this enthusiasm and encourage it to develop within our parties and beyond, in our societies.

COMPASS YOUTH PEOPLE

2007 has been a busy year for the dedicated team of activists who have worked to get Compass Youth off the ground, beginning with the launch of the wAGE discrimination campaign calling for an end to the discrimination in setting the wage rate for young people under the National Minimum Wage, and culminating in the first elections to the inaugural Compass Youth Organising Committee.

Compass Youth in 2006/2007 built links with comrades in the Swedish SSU where Compass Youth members fought in the last Swedish General Election, Compass Youth also sent members to France to help campaign for Ségolène Royal in the French Presidential Elections, and have been to Greece to represent Compass and deliver a speech and advice on defeating the far right across Europe at the Pan Hellenic Socialist Movement's Youth Congress attended by 5000 young delegates.

Compass Youth organised the International Youth Plenary at the 2007 Compass Conference, bringing delegates from PASOK - Greece, SSU - Sweden, Desirs d'Avenir - France, and comrades representing the International Union of Socialist Youth together to debate and educate about the role of youth movements in taking global action on issues common to young people worldwide.

Compass Youth have also been involved campaigning for peace in the Middle East through close work with One Voice, the fastest growing Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution group with over 350,000 grassroots members. Compass Youth helped bring together sympathetic Compass MP's, grassroots NGO's and civic society organisations for a UK based rally and global video link up in support of One Voice.

August 2007 saw the first election held to the Compass Youth Organising Committee, formally constituting itself after having functioned as an ad-hoc Compass Youth management committee for nearly under the steady hand of David Floyd.

Duly elected onto 2007/2008 CYOC were:

Samuel Tarry, Daniel Elton, Tom Miller, Noel Hatch, Amisha Ghadiali, Michael Speer, Muhammad Khan, Yue Ting Cheng, Emmanuel De Lange and Jenna Khalfan.

Too ensure fair gender balance on the Compass Youth Organising Committee two other designated women’s positions were to be filled through a process of Co-Option to the CYOC, the first of which has been filled by Gemma Tumelty - President of the National Union of Students. Discussions are still underway to fill the remaining position, any suggestions for co-option should be sent to youthchair@compassonline.org.uk

Two formal positions were created on the CYOC - Firstly; Chair of Compass Youth, to give vision, leadership, direction and be a spokesperson to champion the radical social democratic agenda of Compass Youth, Secondly; Compass Youth Secretary, to ensure the efficient administration of the Committee and ensure that the Compass Youth vision is driven forward at all times.

Duly elected to these positions were:

Compass Youth Chair - Samuel Tarry
Email:
youthchair@compassonline.org.uk
Phone: +447971819830


Compass Youth Secretary - Daniel Elton
Email:
youthsecretary@compassonline.org.uk
Phone: +447843059283


Two CYOC members were given portfolios to develop Compass Youth's strength in two areas - Yue Ting Cheng to develop stronger links with Trades Unions and Trades Union youth sections, and Noel Hatch to continue to develop the Internationalist perspective that Compass Youth has adopted over the past year creating stronger links with Social Democrats across Europe and the Globe.

The Compass Youth Organising Committee would like to extend our warm thanks to David Floyd who had been the Provisional Chair of Compass Youth until this point, whom without his dedication and hard work Compass Youth might not have moved forward so much over the past year. Our thanks are also extended to those who have worked hard behind the scenes over the past year and been at one point or another on the ad-hoc Compass Youth Committee. We know that you will continue to support us as we build Compass Youth and take the struggle to build a new social democratic society forward.

The year ahead is an exciting one for Compass Youth, with plans to build on our work with One Voice, the launching of a new campaign, and plans to take the battle of ideas out to university Labour clubs up and down the country with a heavyweight Compass Youth speaker list, and of course more international expeditions including a summer school hosted by Social Democratic comrades in Sweden.

To get more involved as an activist, or for help setting up a branch or chapter of Compass Youth in your area then get in touch with the new Chair
youthchair@compassonline.org.uk or Secretary youthsecretary@compassonline.org.uk

Do we want US Missile Defence? - a European perspective



Join the debate this Tuesday 22 January between 7-9 pm at Wilson Room, Portcullis House, Westminster, London.

This will discuss UK and European involvement in the US Missile Defence system.

Contact: 02077002393 or campaigns@cnduk.org to sign up.

A great line up of speakers include:

Lubomir ZAORÁLEK MP, Shadow Foreign Minister from the Czech Republic

Peter KILFOYLE MP, former UK Defence Minister

Jon TRICKETT MP, Compass MPs Chair

Jeremy CORBYN MP

and Kate HUDSON, Chair of CND

Lubomir Zaorálek is a Social Democrat MP and his party's Shadow Foreign Minister. He has been a leading Parliamentary opponent of US proposals to build a radar base in Brdy, south of Prague, as part of the US Missile Defence system.

See Ben Folley's article here

Check the Facebook event group here

Submit your proposals to the PES Manifesto here

The EU Voter or the hidden electorate


The Labour Movement for Europe for London and the South East put forward a strategy of political integration and electoral strategy towards our "friends from the EU". I speak with vested interest - being English and French - although that doesn't mean I will get two votes...I think. Anyway, let's start off by introducing the issue:

What is the EU-Vote?

There are over one million non-British EU citizens living in the UK, a very large percentage of them in and around London. According to a mixture of statistics coming from the Office of National Statistics, Electoral Commission and local council data, they are more than four times less likely to be registered for elections than British citizens.

As of now, none of the political parties in London and the South East of England have developed an electoral strategy to entice this part of the electorate to vote for them, or to participate in the electoral process at all. Against the backdrop of poor turnout at local and regional elections, the activation of the EU-electorate can be a crucial strategic advantage, especially in marginal constituencies.

Some examples show a limited recognition of the potential. In the run up to the Scottish Elections in May the SNP is targeting Polish voters explicitly. In other specific local neighbourhoods, like Lambeth North, where there is a strong Portuguese community, some election flyers have been produced in Portuguese in the last council elections, but without a wider strategy to approach this community on issues specific to them.



The Principle of Participation

Voting is the basic right and expression of participation in the democratic process. Encouraging EU-citizens to vote in the UK in elections in which they are entitled to vote is as much about active participation and empowerment as it is to encourage British citizens to vote in European elections, using their rights to contribute towards the shaping of the EU.

Obviously business and public sector regulation are the most developed areas within the EU – however, the EU can only work if citizen participation is encouraged and recognised as equally important. The EU is not only about reducing trade barriers and negotiating agricultural standards and quotas. In addition to freedom of movement of labour, we have to recognise the freedom of movement of participatory rights, encouraging EU-citizens to not only contribute economically in a place of their choice within Europe, but also to contribute socially, culturally and politically.

Only in this way can we make Europe work on a local level.

Local, Regional and European Voting Rights

All non-British EU citizens are eligible to vote in three out of four types of elections. As with British EU citizens living in other EU countries, they can vote and stand in:

• Local government elections

• Elections for regional tiers of government, as in Scotland, Wales and London

• European Parliament elections


However, they are not eligible to vote in general elections (except for Irish and Cypriot citizens).

Local and regional elections are seen by the main political parties and by the electorate as elections of secondary importance, and attract lower turnout (30-40 per cent as opposed to 60-70 per cent). The electoral strategy employed in these elections for example as far as target group selection is concerned always looks with one eye at the next General Election. Transfer of power to the Mayor of London and the GLA on the one hand, and growing aquis communitaire on the other, make these elections more important than ever in their own right, as does the possible decentralisation of some powers to local government.


See next part or read more of the paper here

The EU Voter or the hidden electorate


We need a strategy of political integration and electoral strategy towards our "friends from the EU". I speak with vested interest - being English and French - although that doesn't mean I will get two votes...I think. Anyway, let's start off by introducing the issue:

What is the EU-Vote?

There are over one million non-British EU citizens living in the UK, a very large percentage of them in and around London. According to a mixture of statistics coming from the Office of National Statistics, Electoral Commission and local council data, they are more than four times less likely to be registered for elections than British citizens.

As of now, none of the political parties in London and the South East of England have developed an electoral strategy to entice this part of the electorate to vote for them, or to participate in the electoral process at all. Against the backdrop of poor turnout at local and regional elections, the activation of the EU-electorate can be a crucial strategic advantage, especially in marginal constituencies.

Some examples show a limited recognition of the potential. In the run up to the Scottish Elections in May the SNP is targeting Polish voters explicitly. In other specific local neighbourhoods, like Lambeth North, where there is a strong Portuguese community, some election flyers have been produced in Portuguese in the last council elections, but without a wider strategy to approach this community on issues specific to them.



The Principle of Participation

Voting is the basic right and expression of participation in the democratic process. Encouraging EU-citizens to vote in the UK in elections in which they are entitled to vote is as much about active participation and empowerment as it is to encourage British citizens to vote in European elections, using their rights to contribute towards the shaping of the EU.

Obviously business and public sector regulation are the most developed areas within the EU – however, the EU can only work if citizen participation is encouraged and recognised as equally important. The EU is not only about reducing trade barriers and negotiating agricultural standards and quotas. In addition to freedom of movement of labour, we have to recognise the freedom of movement of participatory rights, encouraging EU-citizens to not only contribute economically in a place of their choice within Europe, but also to contribute socially, culturally and politically.

Only in this way can we make Europe work on a local level.

Local, Regional and European Voting Rights

All non-British EU citizens are eligible to vote in three out of four types of elections. As with British EU citizens living in other EU countries, they can vote and stand in:

• Local government elections

• Elections for regional tiers of government, as in Scotland, Wales and London

• European Parliament elections


However, they are not eligible to vote in general elections (except for Irish and Cypriot citizens).

Local and regional elections are seen by the main political parties and by the electorate as elections of secondary importance, and attract lower turnout (30-40 per cent as opposed to 60-70 per cent). The electoral strategy employed in these elections for example as far as target group selection is concerned always looks with one eye at the next General Election. Transfer of power to the Mayor of London and the GLA on the one hand, and growing aquis communitaire on the other, make these elections more important than ever in their own right, as does the possible decentralisation of some powers to local government.

To read more please click here

The need for a political strategy


The very large numbers of potential EU voters in London and the South East mean a huge opportunity, both to strengthen the bonds between European citizens and to influence the political balance within London and the localities. The interests of foreign residents, particularly EU foreigners, are important in the realities of the situation in London – they are sensitive to many of the qualities London needs to develop as a world city. And in a low turnout regional or local election, a mobilisation of the resident EU voters could have a strong impact on the overall result. For the parties, there is a chance to engage with a new electorate, pilot new methods of communicating and adding to the debate, and keeping in touch with the realities of London.



Political parties who wish to ask EU-foreigners for their votes and had a convincing narrative for this electorate could surely benefit from a strategy to encourage participation. Three key elements would have to be recognised in a strategy:

1. A first step would be to increase awareness amongst UK-based EU-foreigners of their democratic rights as EU-Citizens. This would serve to encourage people who make use of the right to move and work to any other EU-country, to also engage in the political process there, as an EU-citizen.

2. Secondly one would need to entice them to register with their local authority as eligible voters in order to create the formal basis for their participation in the political process in the UK, and to encourage the local authorities (in line with their duties under the Electoral Administration Act 2006) to maximise registration of these voters.

3. Finally, local authorities also have a duty to promote voting in their areas, including participation by EU voters. For the Labour Party, an electoral strategy and narrative is required to motivate this group to vote and to give incentives for why their votes should be for Labour.



Watch out for the next part or read the paper here

Ken's chances to capitalise



Locally

On a local level, district and unitary councils and London boroughs have a legal duty to maximise electoral registration. In this light, councils should be encouraged to reach out to EU-foreigners in order to get them on the electoral register. The means of communicating to councils can be through formal and informal channels, including encouraging Labour councils to take this statutory duty seriously and putting pressure on opposition controlled councils through members’ questions to do the same.

While the London & South East Labour Movement for Europe (LME/LSE) can contribute to an information/action campaign targeting councils in London and the Southeast, outlining the missed groups and opportunities, more work should be done on local CLP level to engage with EU-citizens in a move to specifically motivate them to register their vote first and to vote Labour. Their impact is likely to be highest in inner London boroughs, although the growth of communities of EU voters elsewhere (e.g. new Poles in Southampton) means that the possibilities can be applied in nearly all areas.



London-wide

Since EU-citizens in London are also eligible to vote in the Mayoral and GLA elections, which are coming up in 2008, there is an added incentive to encourage this missed electorate. In a local context where there are specific Europeans, like Portuguese or Polish one could approach them as individual national groups but in a London context for Mayoral and GLA elections and for the European Parliament there need to be general messages for the EU electorate.

The Mayor’s focus on the recognition of London’s cosmopolitan nature would fit in well with this strategy, as it would truly involve all Londoners, not only the British citizens and descendents of former colonial dependents who have established themselves as immigrant communities.

EU-citizens make up a large, significant group of more recent immigrants and need to be recognised as groups to be involved. At the moment they do not obviously fall within the multi-cultural framework which is mostly geared up to deal proactively with ethnic diversity, rather than cultural diversity. With Europeans making up about 10 per cent of the population in London this wider understanding of cultural diversity needs to be remedied.

Also, discriminatory parties such as the BNP would have it much harder to achieve electoral success. This is an important aspect for the upcoming London-regional elections in 2008. Due to the proportional representation system and against the backdrop of recent electoral fortunes for the BNP, the activation of the EU electorate could make a real contribution to limit the influence of the extremist parties.

Furthermore, given the historical experience of some EU-countries, and the different environmental standards of others, European citizens could be engaged on messages such as anti-fascism, housing, transport (working EU foreigners benefit particularly from improvements to the bus service in London) and environmental policies.



EU-wide

For EU-elections, EU-citizens can chose to either vote in the UK for local European candidates or via a postal vote to vote for the European candidates of their home country.

Since strengthening the UK’s progressive policy in Europe should be high on Labour’s agenda, it would be preferable to encourage as many resident EU-citizens as possible to be registered to vote for EU-elections here, which again – if Labour gets their EU-voter-strategy right – significantly increases the chances of (Labour) candidates.

Most specifically, since all EU-citizens can work and live in the UK due to rights they have as EU-citizens, their vote could contribute significantly to keeping candidates from radical anti-EU parties like UKIP in check who do not want to contribute to the EU but instead only want to undermine EU-institutions in their development.

See next part or read more of the paper here

Who are the european citizens in London?


In all the above, we assume that there is a strong potential for EU-citizens to support Labour policies, both on a local and regional and EU-level.

These figures are likely to seriously understate the eligible numbers of EU foreigners. The Electoral Commission/ONS study Understanding Electoral Registration (2005) found that 19 per cent of EU qualified voters were unregistered, compared to 5 per cent of UK citizens. The influx of EU nationals since 2004 will have significantly increased the proportions of potential voters, and probably by introducing a large number of work-seeking young people added to the difficulties of finding and registering them. The proportions for some boroughs, particularly Hackney, seem rather low given the high levels of EU voters in other comparable authorities.



Sense of Belonging

We will have to differentiate between different groups of EU citizens living in London and the South East.

First of all, there is a differentiation between EU 15 (-1) or EU 10 citizens, now joined by a limited number of Bulgarians and Romanians. While there is a split between “lifestyle migrants” (for example French, German, and Scandinavian EU citizens who come to live in the UK because of London’s cosmopolitan appeal, because their job brings them here, or because they like to just “live abroad”) and economic migrants (who mostly come from the recent EU-expansion states and mainly migrate to find better-paid jobs).

While their individual reasons to move to the UK may play into the electoral topics of interest to these migrant groups, another differentiation is more central to initially engaging European voters:

1. Migrants who move to the UK/London & the Southeast only for a few years to progress in their career or to generate income for their family who will often remain back home.

2. Migrants who stay here for an open-ended time, who make their living in the UK and build an existence, but maintain their citizenship of the home country.

3. Migrants who stay here and eventually become British citizens. While adopting British citizenship, often to help with overcoming bureaucratic obstacles, many EU-citizens still remain closely attached to their cultural community and thus are accessible for different topics than born English nationals.

If not involved actively in the local communities AND the political process locally, there is an increased danger of contributing to the already deeply split society we live in, as there groups will live mainly within their own community or with other similar people, instead of participating fully in their new home, whether temporary or permanent. To communicate with existing cultural-national communities, a British political party needs ‘interlocutors’ with that community and an ability to communicate in the right language, and strike the right notes, with the community.

Labour in many areas has been successful at finding interlocutors and integrating communities such as the Bangladeshi community into local politics. The same may be possible for EU voter communities.

Also, in general, EU-citizens from Southern and Eastern EU-countries are more likely to remain close to their direct cultural community, while Western and Northern Europeans often do not so much live within their direct community, but more in a diverse community of other Europeans in London. The latter group specifically can obviously be targeted on the basis of cross-European topics and issues, such as the environment, the EU, benefits and social care, as well as foreign policy and the economy at large.

Why vote for Ken?



Europeans and the UK Conservatives

The UK Conservative Party is quite distinctive in its free market outlook and its insistence on the role of the individual in contrast to society and broader social models at large. On the basis of these underlying principles, it sits quite to the right of other European conservative parties. Consequently, there is a fair chance that even fairly conservative immigrants will find the Conservatives too far right in comparison with the conservative programmes they are used to in their countries of origin.

Also, there are examples from countries such as Poland, whose descendants are seen as rather religious and conservative in values. However, due to past Conservative criticism of Polish immigration in general and arguments about the need to control it, there is only a small likelihood that the majority of this group can be persuaded to vote Conservative. The British context of religion in politics is also different, in that while the Catholic Church is associated with conservative politics in Poland (and other countries), most British Catholics are of Irish origin and supportive of the political left in Britain.

The same will be true for different groups, for similar reasons.

Europeans and the Social Model of Labour

Most European countries are unified in a general understanding of the positive role of the European welfare-state and overall social model (although this looks different in different countries). However, it comes together in having a common understanding of the ground-rules and responsibilities within societies, which has a much closer fit with a social model propagated by labour policies, locally and nationally, rather than with the individualist mantra of the conservative party.

This is why Labour has a prime opportunity to engage a majority of EU-citizens in the political process on its side, and should not miss the opportunity to engage with all possible voter groups.

Europeans and the Trade Unions

The UK trade union movement has recognised the needs of migrant workers, and the fact that they are often – at least initially – in a vulnerable position in the UK labour market. Successful trade union organisation among EU foreigners in Britain enables new channels of communication to be opened with them, and further integrates them into labour movement values.




The Challenge


• Acknowledge the existence of the EU-citizens in the UK

• Aim to register them onto the electoral register in their local communities.

• Develop an electoral strategy to capture their imagination

• Set this strategy in the framework of the wider Labour campaign. Policy areas such as transportation, housing and jobs are feasible connection points


Let's go for it!

If you want to get involved, email noel.hatch1@gmail.com

Five stars for the manifesto



As Compass Youth prepares to launch the first debate of its PES Manifesto Roadshow in partnership with PES Activists London & South East entitled "Unity or diversity - Which Europe do you want?", we would like to let you know about the Manifesto website here.

Our members have made proposals on a variety of issues:

Henning Meyer on making participative democracy work with the citizens' initiative

Noel Hatch on influencing our lives by shaping them together

Check out the articles and rate them!

MAYORAL DEBATE: KEN'S RESPONSE

Daily Mail ecstasy fueled rampage


Written by Alex Higgins, Compass Youth Member

A strikingly large proportion of headlines in this country begin with the tabloid classic “OUTRAGE AS…” or for variation, “FURY AS…”. That’s because these stories are so easy to write, designed to appeal to, and encourage, near-permanent state of resentment in the readership.

If you ever want to write an “outrage” story yourself, it’s easily done. First, you find a public official who has said something about crime, prisons, immigration, education, drugs, Northern Ireland, civil action lawsuits, motoring, sex, benefits, recycling or whatever will press your readers’ buttons. Then you ring two professionally outraged people – a retired police officer might do, or a Conservative councillor, or maybe the head of an organisation like Parents of Middle England Against Recycling and Speed Limits or something. You ask them, “Are you outraged by this statement?” They say, “Yes, it’s outrageous! It’s barking!” And then you have a news story.

You can try it yourself in the convenience of your own pub. In fact, they probably do.

The Daily Mail lead story of January 2nd is the standard combination of misinformation, one-sided sourcing and accusations of madness as they lay into the Welsh senior police officer, Richard Brunstrom (again). The author Matthew Hickley is extremely selective in the facts he chooses to state, and does not once give anyone with a different point of view a chance to speak (Transform - an organisation campaigning for an end to Prohibition, was ignored when they requested a right of reply). He makes the case for drug Prohibition aggressively under the cover of a news report - and it is astonishing to think that more people don't realise just how propagandistic Mail reporting is.

“Outrage as publicity-mad chief constable says 'ecstasy is safer than aspirin'”

It begins:

“Notorious chief constable Richard Brunstrom is facing demands to resign after publicly claiming that the illegal rave drug ecstasy is safer than aspirin.”

Not got much of a chance, this guy, has he?

Brunstrom is already an object of fear and hatred due to his aggressive enforcement of speed limits in North Wales and his accompanying public statements. He has previously called for an end to Prohibition laws, and he expresses his views on a blog. His conduct is a legitimate subject for discussion, but the chances of him being given a fair hearing in the press are less than zero.

The ecstasy story allows the Mail to be even more manipulative than usual – since they can ring up the families of young people who died after taking it and use their grief to bolster their argument, in isolation from the merits of the paper's arguments.

The report makes its case like this:

'In his latest bizarre proclamation, he insisted that the drug - which claims almost 50 lives a year - was a "remarkably safe substance". The comments from the gaffe-prone head of the North Wales force infuriated the families of youngsters who died after taking ecstasy.

'Challenged over the well-documented dangers of taking drugs such as ecstasy, he said: "Actually the reverse is the case. Ecstasy is a remarkably safe substance. It's far safer than aspirin." He added: "There's a lot of scaremongering and rumour-mongering around ecstasy in particular. It isn't borne out by the evidence."

Mr Brunstrom claimed that "Government research" showed ecstasy was safer than many other substances, including tobacco and alcohol. When contacted by the Mail and asked to explain that claim, he declined to comment.

Recent figures show that between 1999 and 2004, UK deaths from ecstasy, a Class A illegal drug, rose from 26 to 48 per year - putting them roughly on a par with fatalities from cocaine.'

The trouble with the “gaffe-prone” Brunstrom’s “bizarre proclamation” is that he is right, or at least able to make a strong case, about every single point of fact.

It is hard to compare aspirin and ecstasy directly, and perhaps unwise to, but with a little context it is possible to see why Brunstrom could make his assertion. The Mail does not give any figures for deaths from aspirin and other similar drugs, and insists that it couldn’t provide any, a concession that did not dent their certainty. So here are some from the Guardian a few years back:

“The research showed that between 1996 and 1998, there were 364 deaths as a result of paracetamol or aspirin overdose. This had fallen to 274 in the years 1999 to 2001.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2004/oct/29/mentalhealth.uknews

(The fall in deaths from aspirin overdose came after the government introduced legislation limiting the quantity that pharmacies could sell to one person.)

So as a point of fact, aspirin causes significantly more deaths a year than Ecstasy use (put by the Mail at "almost 50 a year" following recent increases). Such figures might help a reader evaluate the merits of Brunstrom’s argument.

The story gets around the (unmentioned) fact of higher aspirin deaths by arguing:

"Campaigners said his comparison was "absurd", since aspirin is taken for medical reasons and also saves countless lives, whereas ecstasy is illegal and is taken for kicks."

Aspirin is certainly taken in a totally different context from ecstasy, it is indeed a life-saving drug and more people take it, more frequently. When aspirin or similar drugs kill it may be from an adverse reaction, but often it is the result of intentional self-harm. Saying that, Ecstasy (or Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA, to use its proper name) has only recently been used for medical purposes. Its value as a therapeutic drug for treating trauma is still being explored. And Aspirin remains a drug that can kill you, yet is available over the counter from supermarkets for 16p a packet, while Ecstasy is classified as a Class A substance, meriting the harshest punishments available under Britain’s Prohibition laws.

The Mail does not bother to offer the reader any context for assessing the overall risk of taking ecstasy. That’s hard to do, because we don’t know how many people take ecstasy and how often. But estimates range between half a million to a million users every week. Martin Samuel at the Times writes:

"So say there are a ball-park 1.25 million Ecstasy tablets taken each week in Britain. That is 65 million annually and 910 million since 1994, working out as one death every 2,275,000 tablets."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/martin_samuel/article3128991.ece

In that context, Ecstasy is indeed “remarkably safe”. The unconsulted UK Medical Research Council puts Ecstasy “on the bottom of the scale of harm”. A Lancet Report of this year, considering all ways in which drugs can harm individuals, including the family and social impact, similarly ranked Ecstasy near the bottom for harm of both legal and illegal recreational drugs.

It's not referenced in the Mail, but you can read it here:
http://download.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/0140-6736/PIIS0140673607604644.pdf

Hickley doesn’t even try to argue with Brunstrom’s quoted claim that alcohol and tobacco kill more people than ecstasy, presumably because it’s blatantly obvious.

It's a mistake to label any drug safe, including strictly pharmaceutical ones, because they will always be dangerous in some quantity or under some circumstances. And we don't know much about the long-term effect of taking ecstasy regularly over a long period (hint - it's probably quite bad for you). But on the Mail's website, directly under the link to the story of the how PC Brunstrom is an idiot, is a story about how doctors recommend alcohol to the elderly. What? No pictures of all the lives destroyed by alcohol? No quotes from those bereaved by alcohol abuse? No invitations to stand by the graves of victims?

Incidentally, the tabloids usually go after Brunstrom over the issue of speed cameras, which he strongly favours - that's why he is "notorious". Traffic accidents, of course, kill thousands of people in Britain each year and are the biggest cause of death among young people. But don't read the Mail for moral consistency.

The Mail then prominently places the portraits of young people who died after taking the drug, and you are meant to deduce from them that Prohibition laws are a good idea, even if they didn't save their lives and may have contributed to some of their deaths.

The question of how Ecstasy deaths actually occur is ignored. Ecstasy, like many things, presents a greater risk to those with serious heart conditions, since it can increase blood pressure. Mixing with alcohol can add to complications. Other deaths are caused by dehydration as dancers who have taken the drug lose body fluids without realising it, or in some cases actually drink water excessively after losing body salts. Simple harm reduction - education, trained staff at clubs, re-hydration - can help prevent these very rare tragedies.

A further risk comes from impurities mixed into the drug – which is an obvious, direct consequence of Prohibition. Since the drug is produced in the criminal, rather than legal economy, there is no way for the government to regulate the contents of a pill. Those deaths could be reduced only by legalising the drug.

The Mail brings on Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, to wrap up their ill-informed case:

"If you strike the attitudes taken by this particular chief constable, if you thoughtlessly downgrade cannabis, if you treat dangerous drugs as 'no worse than aspirin', you make a gift to the drug dealers and criminals who are destroying the lives of so many young people."

Leave aside the false claims about the risk for a moment - David Davis should know what makes a gift to criminals. It’s taking one of the world’s largest industries, with super-high profit margins, colossal returns on investment and very steady customer demand and then giving it to them on a platter, shutting down any legal rivals just to help them out. That is what Prohibition does.

It is hard to think of a single policy that has been as unremitting a failure as the War on Drugs. Hundreds of billions of pounds and many, many human lives have been poured into an endeavour for decades that has succeeded only in making every problem it is meant to solve significantly worse.

The reason it continues is that every time a politician or police officer suggests that prohibition is a bad idea, they can expect hacks at newspapers as manifestly dishonest as the Mail to shoot them down and serve their readers with misinformation pretending to be news.

There is nothing wrong with opinionated news. Most of the best journalism ever written consists of reporters making passionate arguments, exposing official corruption and wrongdoing, for instance, or telling a tragic story from the victim’s point of view. But it is a different thing to regularly assert contentious points of view, make out that the only people who could disagree are lunatics, deny opposing voices a chance to speak and then present it as a straight news report.

That’s not reporting the news, or even being a crusading journalist – it is outright hackery. And if the Daily Mail ever cut out that, their paper would be reduced to its horoscopes, lifestyle features, contradictory stories about the ways you can get cancer and Nostradamus specials.