We’re all Londoners - Campaign session to mobilise the EU vote for Ken

Monday 31 March and Thursday April 3

6:00pm - 8:00pm

Meeting at London Labour HQ, 39 Victoria Street, London (how to get there)

Help prevent the BNP from gaining a seat on the London assembly by helping to increase EU citizens' turnout with a campaign session organised by the Labour Movement for Europe (London & South East).

People who work in London, pay taxes in London, commute in London, raise families in London, should be made aware of their right to have a say in how London is run.

But EU Citizens living in the UK are four times less likely to be on the electoral register than UK citizens. So by activating the EU vote you help the integration of non-British EU citizens into British society.

In the case of London, this means contributing to London functioning better for everybody who lives here.

This phone bank organised by the Labour Movement for Europe (London & South East) will also enable you to meet (other) centre left activists living in London who come from across Europe.

We will provide a full script and a brief training sessions for those who have never done this before.

All you need to bring is yourself and motivation to encourage EU citizens to come out and vote on May 1st!

For more information get in touch with David Schoibl:


07976 252 768


Spread the word on and offline

  • Pledge europeanvoters’ to 60022 (in the UK only)
  • Sign this pledge in Facebook

Why do you support Ken?

There are loads of reasons to back Ken. We want you to tell us yours, because we want to try something new: a youtube advert for Ken, made by Ken's supporters.

Here's how it works. Call 0203-051-3247 to record a message about why you support Ken, or click here to submit your comments, and we'll use your words to create a film for the campaign.

I support Ken for loads of reasons - but his work promoting the London Living Wage is the thing I always mention when I'm out campaigning.

I also mention that crime is down in London for the fifth consecutive year, and Ken's new policing manifesto will add 1,000 new police to continue this downward trend.

Others point to Ken's role in winning the Olympics, the congestion charge, or his commitment to build more affordable homes. Many supporters like the fact that he's independent-minded. Some people I speak to just can't stand the idea of having a throwback like Boris Johnson in charge.

Whatever your reason for supporting Ken we want to hear from you. Your messages and recordings may be used in future campaign emails, videos, or speeches - so please support Ken by getting in touch.

Call 0203-051-3247 to tell the campaign why you support Ken Livingstone, or click here to send in your comments.

Time to be bold

Article by Tom Marley from Compass Youth and VP (Education and Access) for the Guild of Students, published here

Interesting debate here between Charles Clarke and Jon Trickett on what should be the future direction of the Labour Party.

Both seem to agree that the party needs to be bold though neither really get there in giving the reader a genuine narrative of Labour in government. Clarke lays down this gauntlet though and goes through the old rhetoric of public service reform, environmental stability etc…

Trickett on the other hand makes a positive call for arms:

It’s time to break with New Labour timidity. No longer will the modernising left sit quiet, hoping for a more progressive face to emerge from New Labour’s bunker. Our party wills the change that we are being denied. Our country needs it.”

In an Obama-esque turn of phrase he pays lip service to the change he doesn’t make time to describe. It is the job now of the progressive left to not just call for ‘change’ but demonstrate what the change should be.

My 5 questions for the party are this?

  1. What should our response be to growing inequalities of wealth in this country?
  2. How do you balance the creation of affluence with the need to ensure environmental sustainability?
  3. After we have provided opportunities how do you create the necessary aspirations?
  4. What is the role of public services in the 21st century and how do we respond to the demand of the users?
  5. How should the Labour Party respond to meet the challenges?

What do you think?

The red-green coalition: citizens united against Porsche

The challenge of greening our city is that we have to tackle tomorrow's problems today, as well as protecting the standard of living right now.

Ken has just launched his environment manifesto. His proposals will help us lead the fight against climate change, and also work on improving air quality, access to green space, and tackling litter: issues that make a big difference to our everyday lives.

Today's launch puts the £25 gas guzzler charge at the heart of the election debate.

Porsche don't want their drivers to pay the CO2 charge and have decided to sue in the courts to stop it. Instead of trying to stop voters from deciding on this issue, they should produce cars with lower emissions.

Stand up here to the polluters by joining Ken in telling Porsche withdraw their legal challenge:

Those people who choose to drive their gas-guzzlers into central London despite other cheaper and cleaner transport options should pay for the disproportionate damage to our environment they cause. Ken will use the money we raise from the charge to continue the investment in public transport.

We will only be able to bring in this radical change if voters back Ken Livingstone on polling day - and to make that happen we need the help of every single supporter across the city.

Voters can back Ken and the Green candidate Sian Berry if they want the CO2 charge, or they can back Boris Johnson if they want to ditch the scheme. But it should be up to the voters to decide.

Join him here in telling Porsche to withdraw their legal challenge:

The environment is Ken Livingstone's passion. In 2005, he was asked to chair the C40 Cities, a leadership group of the world's largest cities committed to tacking climate change. This initiative was further strengthened when the C40 formed a partnership with President Clinton's Climate Initiative in 2006.

In contrast, Boris Johnson is one of the least environment-friendly politicians in Britain. Boris Johnson has dismissed the gas guzzler charge as "bonkers." He called the Low Emission Zone "the most punitive, draconian fining regime in the whole of Europe". He even backed George W. Bush in opposing the Kyoto Treaty.

We must stand up to Boris Johnson and his friends at Porsche. Please join Ken here in calling on Porsche to ditch their legal challenge against the CO2 charge.

Compass Youth at NUS Conference

Compass Youth will be present at the NUS Annual Conference in Blackpool on 1-3 April. Come and see us!

Agenda for the conference
Annual Conference Delegates' Guide 2008
Conference guide podcast

Yes we can!

We'd like to congratulate Compass members Lillian Greenwood and Chuka Umunna on winning their respective Labour selections in Nottingham South and Streatham. We would also like to thank everyone at Compass Youth who campaigned for them to get selected - next them we'll be campaigning for you!

Lillian is an active UNISON official in the East Midlands who's campaigned successfully on a range of issues including women's rights; anti racism; public sector pensions and funding for the health service. This are some the issues she stands for here.

Chuka an employment lawyer by profession is on Compass's Management Committee and Compass Youth member (see here and what he stands for there), he's probably best known for his stellar performance on Question Time.

Now the real campaign to get them elected begins - both will make exemplary Labour candidates. We look forward to working with them for greater democracy and equality both inside and outside Parliament.

PES Manifesto & Compass Youth Activist Conference - Saturday 22 March

PES Manifesto & Compass Youth Activist Conference
"It's your future, let's shape it together"

Compass Youth are putting on an activist conference at the central London HQ of the Transport and General Workers Union (now Unite the Union).

Help build a new social Europe with Compass Youth

Saturday 22nd March @ 11.00 - 4.00 pm

Transport House, 128 Theobald's Road, WC1X 8TN, London (check map)

This will be the biggest event of the PES Manifesto series and a chance for Compass Youth activists and young socialists from across the country and abroad to meet, share ideas and hear about our exciting campaigns planned for the rest of the year- and how to get involved as an activist! We will be putting together all the ideas submitted both online and during this event to the PES Manifesto! Miss it miss out!

Get inspired: We have a fantastic range of speakers, including:

Neal Lawson, Chair of Compass Nationally

Julian Scola, Communications Advisor - Media & Campaigns for the PES

Stella Creasey, Head of Research and Development for Involve & PPC for Walthamstow

Louise Bamfield, Senior Research Fellow for the Fabians & Commission for Life Chances & Child Poverty

Ama Uzowuru, Vice President for Welfare for National Union of Students

Matthew Collins, Director, Operation Red Wedge & Searchlight

Sayyeda Salam, Director of Development for One Voice Europe

Sue Ferns, Unions 21 (Chair)

Raj Jethwa, Policy Officer for the TUC and Candidate for the European Parliament

Alejandro Olmos Marcitllach, Spanish Socialist Youth (JSE)

Ben Folley, Campaigns Officer, CND

David Taylor, Health & Education For All Campaigner, Oxfam

Get involved!

Would you like to facilitate a workshop on a issue that you are passionate about or a skill you want to share with us? Is there an issue or skill you would like us to do a workshop on?

We are developing issue/skills networks to provide the space for innovative ideas that influence government and practical solutions for our communities, but most importantly enable you to meet other members and help shape what we do in the areas you are interested in. Email noel.hatch1@gmail.com

P.S. A buffet lunch will be provided!

Taking it global - How can Europe change the world? 18th March

Tuesday 18th March at 6.30 - 8.30 pm

House of Commons, Committee Room 12
Westminster (London)

European countries can only have a big say in world affairs if they work together: so how far should Europe go in its common foreign and security policy? As well as facing new security threats, it is widely recognized that many environmental, health, development, trade and other issues are world problems that need global responses. So what should Europe stand for in the world? What can Europe do to promote democracy, decent work and human rights? How can it promote better global governance? How can it encourage not only development but sustainable development? How can it foster development that lifts people out of poverty and not only bring wealth to a few?

Join us at the fourth of our PES Manifesto debates, with a fantastic range of speakers confirmed:

Denis McShane MP, Former Europe Minister
Catherine Fieschi, Director, Demos
Paul Hilder, Campaign Director, Avaaz
Simon Dubbins, International Director, UNITE
Clara Marina McDonnell, Research Fellow, Centre for European Reform
Noel Hatch, LME LSE / Compass Youth

Before the debate, join in the debate around the questions below and submit your ideas here!

We will also be present at the People and Politics Day, so come and join us there too.

We will be putting together all the ideas submitted both online and submitting them to the PES Manifesto!

We aim to make connections that will keep the PES in touch with the most dynamic and innovative thinking, but also enhance mutual understanding between Europeans. Through our series of debates, we will actively encourage participants to share their insights but also put forward innovative ideas and practical solutions to each of the four manifesto themes. Through this, we hope to promote a more social and democratic Europe by making it more relevant to people's everyday lives.

  1. How should the EU promote effective and collective international action on development and world security?
  2. What sort of UN reform should the EU propose?
  3. How should the EU facilitate common viewpoints and positions regarding security and defence?
  4. How should the EU work efficiently with NATO?
  5. What actions should be taken to improve transatlantic relations on security and defence?
  6. How should the EU deepen its cooperation with other regional entities?
  7. How should the EU support a better cooperation between the ILO and the WTO?
  8. What actions should be undertaken by the EU within the international institutions to promote Decent Work and the ILO Core Labour standards?
  9. What actions should be undertaken by the EU to achieve the UN Millennium Goals?
  10. What should be the EU’s international trade policy?
  11. What policies and agreements should be promoted to avoid fuelling conflicts over natural resources?
  12. How can the EU’s development policy ensure that developing countries have the capacity to meet their current challenges, including climate change and environmental protection?
  13. How can we achieve security of supply and tackle high energy prices in developing countries?

To read more

Check map

The equality crunch

We should celebrate the planned £20 increase in child benefit payments for first child to increase to £20 a week from April 2009, Changes to tax credits for families will make those with two children earning £28,000 a year better off by £130 a year, £8bn more on affordable housing over three years, the savings gateway scheme that, from 2010, will offer incentives to save for 8 million more people on low incomes, £60m over three years to improve skills for those wanting to re-enter the job market but surely not the reduction of corporation tax and watering down his plan to tax the non doms and retreating on capital gains tax. And where was the windfall tax on the shameful profits of the energy companies, which may have helped towards cutting child poverty?

One of the reasons why this budget was tough, why people get bankrupt, sacked or even made homeless, is as a consequence of the credit crunch, which is in itself partly because of the fat cats taking wild risks with with other people's money to make themselves even richer.

To contradict John Hutton, before celebrating the fact that people can be enormously successful in this question, shouldn't we should be questioning whether rising inequality can be morally justified.

Or rather shouldn't we be questioning why the people John Hutton celebrates pay less tax (and most none at all) than the people that clean their luxury flats? Shouldn't we be celebrating those people that pay their fair share and those people that despite being born unequal, have contributed more than enough to our society and often taken advantage of by those who don't - whether that's agency and temporary workers excluded from rights in the workplace, elderly living in fuel poverty being ripped off by energy companies, children not being able to go to university because their parents cannot afford tuiton fees.

It seems the BBC have taken to heart Greg Dyke's famous quote that the organisation was itself "hideously white" and produced a series about how hideous the white working class is, by portraying lazy, racist reactionary bigots. Maybe it would have been better to talk with the working class rather at them to find out that they don't all fit the Little Britain mould. Maybe the government should also stop thinking of them as citizens before consumers, or racialising the debate on identity to reveal a weaker scapegoat than itself - the immigrant, the disabled, the carer, the family.


There is a challenger to the status quo, a challenger for the position of Treasurer of the Labour Party - His Name is Mark McDonald, Human rights Barrister and grass-roots campaigner.

Samuel Tarry, Chair of Compass Youth, recently interviewed him on his quest to put the grassroots back at the heart of the Labour Party putting questions from Compass Youth members directly to him. Mark's campaign was in fact launched from the Labour Home grass-roots website after Labourhome.org Editor Alex Hilton in December challenged the grassroots to find a candidate for the role of Treasurer of the Labour Party.

We at Compass Youth are always interested in bottom up campaigning and the democratisation of the Labour movement. So decide to find out more to help our members make their own minds up about this important position. Compass Youth would like to thank Mark for the time he has taken to give us an interview.

Q: How will you ensure that you remain accountable to the membership and as independent as possible rather than becoming part of the party machinery?

"The entire tenor of our campaign is one of re-engaging party members in the running of the party. The fact that this post is so rarely contested means that it has ceased to be accountable. Democratic election is the first step in accountability. But further than this, I’m keen to use both traditional and modern methods to ensure there is a constant dialogue with members over the course of the two year term. I’d like to visit as many CLPs as possible and attend party meetings, but there is an entire arena of online engagement that is underused by the party, which I would like to address in the role of treasurer."

Q: Looking at the issue of party funding what five key reforms would you make? How will you lobby for these reforms within the party, PLP and Unions?

"There has to be a complete change in approach from the leadership in how we reform our party. I’m not approaching this Treasurer position as though it confers upon me the right to make pronouncements as though I am expressing the unified voice of the members and affiliates. We must have a party treasurer who considers it his or her responsibility to seek out the members and affiliates who can contribute to reforming our party finances. This means going to every region and meeting people and bringing their ideas and priorities back to the NEC. I have my own opinions: one of which is that we should formalise our training procedures so that our officials and skilled volunteers are tested and certified rather than simply presumed to have understood their training. Secondly, it is clear we need the party to facilitate internal elections better, providing fund-raising and member contact facilities to ensure they are in the hands of trained professionals, and are data protection and electoral law compliant, rather than people whose only qualification is their enthusiasm for the candidate. But you’re right, we have to lobby for these changes to be made once all the proposals are known. Very simply, I would suggest that when members and affiliates have been fully engaged in the process of developing policy, they are less likely to oppose its adoption. Certainly, changing the way we operate really does demand a more streamlined method of making party rule changes while respecting our stakeholders’ sovereignty over the rules."

Q: Taking the issue of Trades Union affiliation to the Labour party - how do you propose that this financial link is not broken and that the Union link is enhanced at the same time as making union funding of the party more transparent? Would you support the proposals put forward by Unlock Democracy for preserving the link - increasing transparency?

"The union movement and the Labour Party are indivisible; trying to separate us is like trying to un-boil an egg. I am proud to be a member of the only political movement in Britain that engages millions of people. However, it is clear that we would be a stronger movement if we worked more closely with individual affiliated Union members. For example, I supported Harriet Harman’s proposal in the deputy leadership election that young affiliated union members should be given automatic Labour membership for a year, a concept that could be extended far further. However, I do oppose state funding of political parties, which is a move that could reduce the Labour Party from being a membership organisation to being a supporters club. There is the scope for the state providing cross-party support for certain facilities – for example, for high quality training in electoral laws. I am not convinced that blunt measures, such as national spending caps, are effective in the longer term, as they tend to provide scope for many loopholes, which political operators tend to seek out. I would keep the national cap, but certain “surgical strike” regulations could serve to be far more effective. In particular, looking at capping billboard poster site spending and potentially banning certain practices that have high costs – just as we currently ban TV advertising."

Q: Do you agree that trade unions should be able to participate fully in the political process but that any system of affiliation needs to be open, transparent and based on the active consent of the individual. How would you propose that this is done?

"Yes, and it is clear that the union movement recognises this and seems to be taking action to ensure forms etc are clear to their members."

Q: Given the damage that the recent party funding scandal has done to Labour and to politicians standing in general (The Conservatives were equally implicated) what would you aim to do in your first 100 days in office to rebuild the trust of the membership and the public?

"I backed Hilary Benn for the deputy leadership, I even donated to his campaign fund, because I felt that although all the candidates had strengths, none of them are defined by their integrity in the same way that Hilary is. I got to know his campaign team pretty well and running through the team, as though it were in their DNA, was a respect for Hilary’s integrity. In marketing terms, they had faith in their brand and no individual was prepared to make a mistake that would damage that. Our problem in our party is that we seem to have lost faith in our brand, when our values remain as noble as ever they were. We will win back the trust of the British people when all of us, volunteers, affiliates, employees and politicians express a level of faith in the Labour “brand” that ensures that mistakes aren’t made through carelessness or recklessness. Can this be achieved in 100 days? I’m not sure but we can start to address these issues."

Q: To set yourself apart from other party apparatchiks and as an act of solidarity with the lay membership would you take an average workers salary instead of that offered by the party?

"This is a voluntary position and attracts no salary. As a barrister, I presume winning this position will mean I am less available to work in court and so this would represent a pay cut.

Q: How will you use your position to bring about a more social and democratic party?

"As I have stated before, I believe the diligence of our financial arrangements is bound up with our internal democracy. The treasurer post has atrophied because it has lost its mandate from the membership – due to the rarity with which this election is ever contested."

Q: On a personal level I am sure that Compass Youth members would be very interested to hear more about your advocacy work, particularly the work training young lawyers in Palestine? How did you come to be involved in this and how does it inform your politics?

"This is of course a very separate issue than the election of the Treasurer
. However Palestine is an issue close to my heart. I have worked for many years to raise the issue of the Palestinian people and last year, as part of a human rights project funded by the Foreign Office, I went to the West Bank to help train Palestinian Lawyers in international human rights. My experience of the everyday Palestinian was very humbling. There was a desperate need for help and for the international community to step in and stop the occupation which is everyday tearing apart the lives of the ordinary Palestinian.

Historically, the core values of the left have been the protection of vulnerable from oppression and state abuse. Domestically the erosion of individual rights in last century led to increasing calls for a UK Bill of Rights, and the incorporation of the European Charter into UK law became the defining moment of the first New Labour Government. Internationally the campaign against South African Apartheid, the rights of the people South America and civil rights marches in the US have always been embraced by the mainstream left. Equally and rightly, the left supported the right of the Jewish State. But I feel that sometimes the mainstream left forgets the plight of the Palestinian people. At conference I attended both and the Israeli and Palestinian fringes and was taken-back by the contrast between the two events. The Labour Friends of Israel attracted over 300 attendees, the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister both gave speeches on their support for Israel. At the Palestinian event, there was not one Member of Parliament present. And although the Palestinian Ambassador had travelled to Bournemouth, no senior member of the labour party was there to greet him. I raised this issue with a number of MP’s and at the same time discussed greater sanctions and maybe the need for a boycott. Each time I met with scepticism and an unwillingness to criticise Israel. There is a need for the left to constantly raise the issue of Palestine which I will continue to do until, one day, like South Africa there is peace. "

Q: What do you think of the following six part recovery plan for British politics to clean up its image and practice and encourage political parties to re-engage with the public at a local and personal level, where it is most effective.

The six step recovery plan consists of:
  1. Introduce a system of matched funding or a US-style money-per-supporter;
  2. Caps on individual donations;
  3. Reduce national spending limits and increase constituency limits;
  4. Mayoral election-style voter guides for all elections;
  5. Rebates on constituency campaigns;
  6. Electoral reform.

"Again, I don’t think it is for the Treasurer alone to consider these matters when they refer to general party funding proposals rather than Labour-specific practices. However, I generally think that the more complicated the proposals are the more expensive they would be to operate and enforce and the greater number of loopholes will be found. I oppose state funding of political parties, except perhaps in terms of training and ancillary services. Voter guides make sense. Balancing between local and national spending limits is overly complicated because already parties find ways of “deeming” spend items as national rather than local if they need to. It wouldn’t really have much impact. Caps on individual donations aren’t necessarily the answer either as that provides a further motive to be less transparent. What if, when I die, I want to leave my worldly goods to the party? Why shouldn’t I be allowed to do so however much that may be? There are a lot of proposals that could come under the heading of “Electoral Reform”. I do support a better democracy and a more proportional voting system would make sense. I also support a 100% elected Lords and votes for 16 year olds."

Q: What do you make of the decision of Peter Watt, apparently his predecessors and almost certainly a lot of others within the Labour party to break the law in covering up the identity of a major party donor? With the Wendy Alexander debacle, a similar dismissive attitude about the law seems to have been in place. But no party has clean hands, least of all the Conservatives who continue to use unincorporated associations to legally protect the anonymity of their donors. How will you ensure that you will be 'whiter then white' and drive through the implementation of new financial management systems to make this unthinkable in the future?

"As I stated earlier, once we all start to regain our faith in the Labour brand, there’s a general motive to double check and ensure things are in order. I don’t believe the Labour Party is corrupt, though it is clear that mistakes have been made. It’s also unfair to seek out scapegoats and on reading the news articles, it’s clear that the David Abrahams arrangements were in place well before Peter Watt was appointed General Secretary of the Labour Party. Wendy Alexander is your second example and you have to remember that she took a £950 donation from someone that she and everyone else thought was a British resident. The donor hadn’t declared that he was Channel-Islands based, and while Wendy would have benefited from having someone double-check the donation on her behalf, there was no corruption. We have to be clear that our aim is to make complying with our legal obligations a central part of our work as party activists, not conducting witch-hunts."

Q: Sum up in one sentence why Compass Youth members ( those who are also a Labour party members) should vote for you?

"Labour needs a treasurer who counts, who believes in drawing the membership closer to the leadership of the party and who will work to restore Labour’s reputation with members and the public."

Mark is a human rights barrister and a long standing Labour activist and has fought for many years against abuse of power. He was an operating theatre assistant and NUPE shop steward before he took his A-levels as a mature student, and later a degree, to become a lawyer. And now working in law he continues to fight injustice, travelling to the Middle East to train Palestinian lawyers, to the USA to assist defence teams in death penalty cases and running the London Innocence Project, which provides pro-bono support for reviewing miscarriages of justice.

To find out more about Mark's campaign and how you can get involved to support him see www.markpmcdonald.com

Hasta la victoria siempre! – Victory for Spanish Socialists

Spain's socialist prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, won a convincing general election victory last night after a campaign thrown into turmoil at the last minute by the killing of a politician, blamed on Basque separatists Eta.

With 96% of results in, the Spanish Socialist Worker's party had won 43.7% of the vote, giving it 169 seats in the lower house, an increase of five on 2004, but short of the 176 needed for an absolute majority. The People's party won 40.1%, which translates to 154 seats, up six on 2004. See map of the results here.

Speaking to ecstatic supporters at the socialist party's headquarters in central Madrid last night, Zapatero first paid tribute to Isaias Carrasco, the former socialist town councillor who was shot dead two days before the elections. He went on to thank the "voters who have given a clear victory to the Socialist party", after a polling day that saw a turnout of over 75%. He explained "The Spanish people have spoken clearly and decided to start a new era... I will govern for all, but thinking, before anyone else, of those who don't have it all,"

The Spanish Socialists proposed in their manifesto
  • the introduction of a European framework directive on public services
  • strengthening workers’ rights, notably through the revision of European law on worker information and consultation
  • a common European migration policy, defining integration policies, the fight against human trafficking and illegal migration and favouring legal migration
  • the creation of a common border police
  • regulating hedge funds and tackling financial speculation
  • promoting the creation of an Alliance of Civilisations at global level
  • introducing a solidarity mechanism for energy supply

In the next four years, Zapatero plans to extend his social reforms, pledging to create 2m jobs, to increase the minimum wage and maternity leave and to spend heavily on a high-speed train network. The socialists want to introduce stronger anti-discrimination legislation, and promise a string of green laws, including spending €9bn on renovating houses to reduce their emissions.

Samuel Tarry, Chair of Compass Youth congratulated the Spanish Socialist Workers Party: "Internationalism is the cornerstone of democratic socialism; in the globalised world social democrats should welcome this victory for progressive politics. To build a new social Europe that will withstand the ravages of accelerated capitalism each victory for social democrats strengthens our cause and our resolve. Social Democracy has been under threat across Europe and is still mortally wounded in the UK with the continuing drive to introduce marketisation into the public sector instead of recognising the public value that public services bring to the social fabric of society coupled with the myth that innovation only comes from the private sector. We need to find European and global social democratic solutions to the problems facing the world, the victory of the Spanish Socialists shows that there is a viable alternative to the neo-liberal consensus, one that we are proud to have supported by sending young activists to campaign for. I wish Zapatero and all of our Spanish comrades all the best with the programme of progressive reforms and the progressive 'new era' they hope to usher in."

Compass 4 Obama

One of our Compass Youth Councillors, Kris Brown has been leading our trip to help campaign with Barack Obama. Check out his on-the-road diary.

Three days ago, rather jet lagged, I arrived in the Windy City of Chicago to campaign for Barack Obama at the Obama for America Head Office. Despite the freezing cold and snow I was warmed by the kindness, hospitality and buzz of the Obama campaign as I was immediately put straight onto a phone and computer to canvass voters in Texas and Ohio on behalf of the Illinois Senator.

Let's be honest, it wasn't the best result we could have hoped for but as I told a Chicago Radio station on Tuesday night it wasn't necessarily the worst.

Hillary Clinton, in her speech on the night, pointed out that she had won the states that need to be won if a Democrat is to win in November. She pointed to Ohio and Texas as examples. But we need to look deeper to find the real winner on this night because it has nothing to do with delegate count.

With these victories and Clinton’s declaration that she plans to take this to the Democratic National Convention, it is clear that this nomination will only go to her on the backs of super delegates. Her claim to those super delegates is that she can win the important states that need to be won in November. But looking at the details it seems that claim doesn’t hold substance.

I decided to look on the internet and compare results from the 2004 Presidential election to the results from Clinton’s so called victory in bellwether states.
Keep in mind through all this that the results from primaries where it is Democrat vs. Democrat is different than results from general elections where it is Republican vs. Democrat. If a Democrat wins a state in a primary it is not necessarily a sign that the candidate would fair better in the general. You must look at where their support is coming from within the invidual respective state.

The areas in Ohio that Clinton won that night are Republican areas in general elections and areas where a Democrat, no matter whoever he or she may be, will not win. Barack Obama, however, won the important areas; the major cities where the population resides. Most importantly, he won them with large, clear margins of victory overall.

Kerry lost Ohio in 2004 for lots of reasons, but he lost in a narrow margin. If the Kerry campaign could re do their campaign, they wouldn’t have targeted the reliably Republican areas that Bush won handily which are the same areas that Clinton won this year, but would look to increase their margin of victory in counties like Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton among others. These were Kerry counties in ’04 but most importantly, Obama counties in ’08. The difference from ’04 to ’08 is that Obama won by large clear margins in these counties Kerry did not.
Compare the results of Texas and the same holds true. Even with an incumbent President who was a native Texan in ’04, looking at the results allows you to easily see where the Democratic strong holds are and where the Democratic nominee must win handily to win the state this coming November. Now look at Obama’s results and you will see wins. But most importantly, not just single digit margins of victory either - but large, clear margins of victory.

Look at Obama’s result in this primary in the swing states and it is clear to see that if the Democratic super delegate’s want to back the candidate who can win in November based on election night results alone and nothing else, then they must look at the results of Barack Obama.
If the Democrats are going to steal these types of states from Republicans in November, the US needs a candidate who is stronger in Democratic strongholds. The three most populous counties in Ohio this election went to Obama. The same holds true for the three most populous counties in Texas.

If Hillary Clinton goes into the general election against John McCain and runs well in only the republican dominated areas of Ohio and Texas then she will not carry the election in November. She may well end up winning the above talked about democratic counties, simply because she is a democrat, but not by large enough margins to carry the state overall. Barack Obama would run up the vote count in those places by enough of a margin to carry the states in question and carry their Electoral College votes and therefore the White House.

The story of the blogger and calculator

A blogger and a calculator have helped to shape a serious debate about who is competent to lead a great city like London.

In a BBC interview last week Boris Johnson claimed that the cost of his policy of bringing back buses with conductors would be £8 million a year. This Monday his transport manifesto gave a pledge to introduce a new bus 'with conductors'. He repeated his claim that it would cost £8million on 4 March. Ken Livingstone argued the cost of this policy is grossly understated.

Who was right?

So the journalist and blogger Dave Hill decided he would take it upon himself to look into the rival claims and cast his independent eye over the facts. He dug out the facts directly and assembled the figures. Here's his verdict:


Boris Johnson has underestimated the cost of his bus policy by at least £100 million per year. That would mean a bus fare increase from 90p for a single journey to £1.05, or an increase in the cost of a weekly bus pass from £13 to £15.

After two decades of neglect, a £1 billion a year Tube invest programme is underway. Ken's expanded bus services so that 90 percent of London households are within 400 metres of a bus stop. We've expanded investment in cycling, resulting in an 83 percent increase in cycling levels over the past five years.

And although people now take it for granted, he's brought in Oyster cards, abolished bus and tram fares for children and defended the Freedom Pass from Tory attacks that it is a 'stealth tax.'

So before Ken Livingstone launches his transport manifesto, what do you think are the big issues in this area?

Making Europe more local

A post from our very own Compass Youth member, David Shoare,straight from Bristol. I went to the debate "Unity or Diversity? What Europe do we want?" in London earlier this week. The topic was the PES manifesto and democracy and diversity and there was a lot of discussion about democracy in Europe and how we can make it much closer to the people, and more relevant to them. I would like to suggest one of the ways we can do this is by giving the people concerned more of a say in how EU initiatives, particularly regional and social ones, are conducted and where the money goes.

We have had particular success in doing this at the South Bristol Urban 2 Programme, of which I am proud to have been involved in and also chaired for two years, where the ultimate decision making committee that decided what projects to support was made up of local residents, representatives of community organisations and particularly young people, of which the programme's main aim was to support. We also structured it's meetings so that young people could better access it - the meetings certainly are not boring and if there was any jargon that anyone did not understand then you could show a red card and shame the person into explaining it better! In doing this, we not only made one of the EU's most innovative programmes, but also one of the most successful! Because the Programme gave a very direct say in how it's money was spent to the very people who were effected by it, projects that were more relevant and supportive to young people were given funding by it, and also encouraged projects that operated in the same spirit as the Programme to go ahead. This has included a young-people designed open space, called Spacemakers, and also a new media centre of which young people worked closely with the architects to build.

More details can be found here.

To make the EU closer to the people it effects, we should use things like this as a model to introduce throughout Europe - it is too often seen as too distant by people, but if we can get it to do some genuine good in local communities by not only consulting, but involving them in it's initiatives then it can be more visible, and even better, more democratic. The EU can be a lot of things to a lot of people, but it is often very bad at making obvious all of the good things about it, and if more of this can be done, and hey, if we can put more new ideas into practice like the one I have listed above, then we can have a much better Europe.


Samuel Tarry Compass Youth Chair said: "Compass Youth has from the outset been very internationalist in perspective. We have sent member's to campaign in France, Sweden, Spain and to speak at the PASOK Youth Congress in Greece. We even have a member currently campaigning for Barack Obama in the United States.

We have been in touch with many fraternal youth organisations and NGO's across the world, including the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) and ECOSY. Our work and politics has attracted interest from across the world.

One young and innovative comrade from Nepal; Sajan Baiju, has been in touch and written an article for us updating us on the current political situation in Nepal and the political struggles going on there. He has been key in setting up Nepal's 'Creative Youth Organisation' an empowering force that helps out in practical ways to help people rebuild their lives, fight illness, and increase education facilities in the aftermath of political struggle.

He told me that 'Creative Youth' are" a youth organisation working in the fields of youth development, their participation in development of peace, skill trainings for youths, we also work in preservation of environment, eco-system and cultural heritage. "

Here in his own words he describes the situation and the current activities of Nepal's 'Creative Youth'. Compass Youth salutes the work 'Creative Youth' are doing and offers its hand in solidarity"


Nepal is in a critical condition in this present context, the political instability and protest with different demands have been a big issue in Nepal. After 19 days long fights for democratic Nepal, people gain a New Nepali government ruled by Prime Minister “GRIJA PRASAD KOIRALA” along with 8 alliance parties after losing 18 people during the protest against the king. Now Nepali government has declared the election this April and they are facing many problems so the Nepalese peoples. With the demands and complaints from different peoples Nepal is facing problems which can ruin the election.

Now Terai has been a big issue in Nepal. Terai people came up with their own demand of independent Terai and protesting against the government from last 20 days. Terai is the food house of Nepal and the main point for import of many essential commodities like petroleum products, food products, wooden materials and other daily useable goods. After the protest and road blockage these things have been shortage in city areas. After the shortage of petroleum products less vehicle are running in the road. People have to walk a long distance and schools, colleges are closed which have direct effects in education of students. Prices of commodities have risen steeply and poverty is increasing in lower class family.

In the other hand, Terai is still in protest and many people are injured and 4 of them lost their lives and hundred of them are homeless. Government is in table talks with parties in Terai but it has been an unsuccessful attempt. Many diseases have made a big space in Terai region and people are ignoring it. Many children’s and old age people are suffering from diarrhea, cholera, influenza, pneumonia, encephalitis and other diseases.

This protest has brought many negative consequences and can be very dangerous in near future if it is not solved.


· Established 4 health camps in different region of Terai, taking care of healths of people settling in camps after being homeless.

· Running awareness campaign about health and diseases.

· Making temporary camps for homeless people and providing them with food, medicine and clothes.

· Running educational camp for those who want to study and giving small scale skill training inside the camps like making candles, detergent soaps, incense sticks.


Creative youth organisation Nepal is planning to build a home and a school for the homeless people who have been disbursed from their home by different reasons. Aawahan Samuha, Srijana Manch Nepal is collaborating with CYON to help building this home. Every other effort from international community for building this home would be a great help.

We would look forward for the hand of co-operation from your organisation and work together for common motive.

Send messages of solidarity to youthchair@compassonline.org.uk