Compass Youth are campaigning on Young People and the Recession. But we know this isn't just an economic crisis, it's an environmental one too. But let's stop agonising and start organising. Saving the environment saves you money - swap your clothes with friends rather than buy those made from sweat shops. Fighting climate change is exciting and successful - swoop a power station and you too can stop it pumping out dirty coal like at Kingsnorth.

We want to start bringing together Compass Youth activists interested in climate change, so after our successful workshop SWaP your Story, you told us you wanted to hold politicians to account on this issue and get together with other activists to make your voice heard - that's why we're joining the Wave!


The more there will be people losing their jobs, the more there will be people with more time and less money.

What can young people do with their time and energy if they've got no job to go to? How can they spend their time more creatively? Can young people out of work be the next generation of social entrepreneurs?

We don't know...That's why we want you to come and tell us what ideas we should campaign on to tackle youth unemployment. That's why we want you to come to the first of a series of sessions focused on different ways young people out of work can develop their skills.

As well as being able to have your say in shaping our priority campaign for 2010, you'll be able to hear from an amazing trio of social entrepreneurs, David Floyd (Social Spider), Peter Ptashko (Young UnLtd) and Amisha Ghadiali (Amisha/The Hub) who'll share their stories.

Sign up here!




On 5th December we're going to see The Wave: the UK's biggest ever climate demonstration, 2 days before the most important climate meeting ever, begins in Copenhagen.

The Wave is organised by Stop Climate Chaos, a huge coalition of organisations that are all mobilising their members, and will bring together people from all walks of life, including people that don't normally go on marches.

I'm trying to get as many people as possible to the Wave, because I see this as the best opportunity we've ever had to bring all those people that care about climate change together.

If we get a really impressive number of people out on the streets we can show not only the UK government, but also the UK public, how big this movement is and how many people want the sort of radical changes we'll need to stop climate chaos. I'll see you there on the 5th!


A couple of friends and I have decided to organise a rather last-minute stunt to raise awareness about the Copenhagen talks on 6-18th Dec and The Wave march on Saturday 5th Dec.

We're calling on all buskers / musicians / street performers / out of work actors / photographers to take to streets in the lead-up, and instead of busking for money, to provide passers-by with entertainment and flyers to raise awareness. Hence the (borrowed) name, "Keep your coins, we want change!"

The aim is to try and inspire a decentralised thing where people can just go and do it in whichever town or city they live on whatever day they're free. However, we also want to gather a group of people in London on the weekend of 28/29 November and spend an hour or so busking and spreading the word.

Although we are particularly looking for musicians, we also need flyerers and photographers. So noone is free from the invite. ;-)

If you are interested in helping, here are a few things you can do:

Sign up to the Facebook event

Follow us on Twitter

Add to our collaborative Spotify playlist of busking songs

Let me know if you can make it on the 28th/29th Nov

Spread the word!

As you may have guessed, this is a bit of an experiment. However, it also feels like something that could just spark an interest in the wider public, something that The Wave, and climate discussions drastically needs.

So, if you wanna get on board, get in touch, or forward this to all your friends!

Many thanks,


Do you have a story to tell about how you're using exciting campaigning techniques to make a difference to the issue you care about? Email now!




Now is a critical time in British politics and it's a shame that no one cares. I'm not prepared to label everyone but the evidence suggests that the majority of young people don't care and won't vote, and whilst this is true of the whole population (with a general decline in voters turning out) apathy is worst amongst the 18 to 24 year old age group, with less than 40 per cent using their vote compared to over 75 per cent of those aged 65 or over.

This isn't about age or ideology but I simply believe that the priorities of those aged 65 or over are very different from those of people aged 18 to 24 and as we are currently inheriting a huge debt from the generation gone before us I would like to see everyone my age taking this seriously and using their vote to make their voices heard. The common argument is that it won't make a difference - of course it will, and personally I believe that those people who haven't actively engaged in the democratic process - have no right to complain when they think things in Westminster aren't quite what they want - please people, don't bury your heads in the sand.

The decisions made at the next election (or any for that matter) do affect you and we might be living with the consequences for years to come.

Take the time to figure out what's important to you - this isn't about reforming the democratic process but simply engaging with it. Politics like wider society in general relies on people engaging with it, you can't expect it to come to you. I think it's fair to assume that the things that matter to people are those that they see as influencing their lives either now or in the future i.e. employment, the environment. Please make your voice heard.

It could not be easier to vote - it takes five minutes after registering and all you need to do is put a cross in the box of your chosen candidate.

A study by the University of Plymouth in 2003 argues that the UK has amongst the lowest voter turnout in Europe and for the population as a whole in 2001 turnout was as low as just 23 per cent - do we want to live in a country where over three quarters of the population haven't had a say in how their lives are determined?

Be grown up please and accept that it's your responsibility, the reason that politicians don't know what you want is because no one tells them!

One of my concerns is that people simply don't know how to vote and I would like to see a campaign aimed at young people to educate them - a one stop shop where people can register to vote, have the political parties manifesto's explained and learn about the voting process and why it's important. Having it all available, in one easy place, will make it very simple and take a lot of the hard work out of looking for it yourself.

I think its a tragedy that people aren't taught about the governing bodies and processes of their country at school, perhaps a campaign would go some way to compensating for this.

Would people like to see apathy legitimised too? Is there an argument for included in the ballot card a box that simply says "I do not want any of these candidates" ? If people don't feel their interests are adequately represented then this will give them a chance to voice there concerns and say - for arguments sake if 50 per cent of the population said no then the election would be held again - this would be a true democracy, currently there isn't this choice obviously and I liken it to walking into a car show room and wanting a red car and all they have is a blue and yellow car - and right now, the way it is (without this ability to say no) you'd have to choose either a blue or a yellow car. This may be one reason why people just don't care

I believe that young people are intelligent and actually very politically aware - the majority of people will without realising it, have probably engaged in some kind of consumer politics i.e. buying a fair trade product or boycotting those that they feel are unethical - this is great and I know being only 22 myself that the stereotype of a young, apathetic and lazy person is untrue - so please let's not become the "whatever" generation and actively influence our circumstances.

Drop outs or start ups? Next generation social entrepreneurs

The more there will be people losing their jobs, the more there will be people with more time and less money.

What can young people do with their time and energy if they've got no job to go to? How can they spend their time more creatively? Can young people out of work be the next generation of social entrepreneurs?

We don't know...That's why we want you to come and tell us what ideas we should campaign on to tackle youth unemployment. That's why we want you to come to the first of a series of sessions focused on different ways young people out of work can develop their skills.

As well as being able to have your say in shaping our priority campaign for 2010, you'll be able to hear from an amazing trio of social entrepreneurs, David Floyd (Social Spider), Peter Ptashko (Young UnLtd) and Amisha Ghadiali (Amisha/The Hub) who'll share their stories.

Sign up here!



Last week Compass Youth hosted an event in London to discuss an issue close to the hearts of many members: political reform. The aim was to submit Compass Youth ideas to the Power 2010 campaign for democratic change. Members took part in workshops and agreed on the best ideas to submit between them.

To put this in some kind of political and historical context is important. Unlike most other countries in the world, democracy in the United Kingdom doesn’t have a date of birth. There’s no written constitution; no Declaration of Independence; no Declaration of the Rights of Man. Parliamentary Democracy has evolved slowly over the last 1000 years. In that time we’ve seen Magna Carta; the evolution of Parliament; the decline of monarchy and aristocracy; universal suffrage; civil rights; human rights; workers rights; rights to freedom of speech, all enshrined in law.

I mention these developments because the movements that led to these changes often started in circumstances similar to the ones in which we met last week: a relatively small gathering of people, in a relatively small space, discussing big ideas.

To give some historical precedents, those familiar with the English Civil War may have heard of the Levellers. They started as a small group of political activists. Many were ex-soldiers. They decided that they had not fought and watched their friends and comrades die to go back to business as usual.

They wanted real change. They printed pamphlets, mobilised support and eventually became so powerful that they were able to go to Oliver Cromwell, the most powerful man in the country, to make an historic demand: that every many in the country be given the right to vote. The electoral franchise at the time was by some estimates just 2% of the adult male population. Sadly this was not to change for two centuries. But the Levellers influenced every democratic movement since, especially the Chartists who re-printed some of their pamphlets. Their writings have even been cited in US Supreme Court rulings. The Levellers were without a doubt the founding fathers of British democratic socialism.

Over three hundred years later in 1977 a small group of political dissidents in Czechoslovakia got together to produce Charter 77, a demand for human rights in a totalitarian state. Though this started as a small group, it was a pivotal development that led to the downfall of Soviet Communism in Eastern Europe.

Inspired by Charter 77, 11 years later a group centre-left academics, writers and activists produced Charter 88 in the UK. For the first time, the ideas that are at the centre of the debate for constitutional change today were at the heart of a movement for political reform. They put issues on the table like Freedom of Information, House of Lords reform, and proportional representation. Some of their goals have been realised, some are half-finished and others are yet to make progress.

It is very much in this tradition that we met to discuss reform last week. The aforementioned groups were not prepared to stand for the system as it stood in their time, and it is to finish the work that they started that has spurred on the Power 2010 campaign and the role of Compass Youth within it.

Campaigns for political reform are as old as politics itself and it is not an issue that gets the pulses of the nation rising. But those who gathered last week and those who will gather for the Power 2010 Convention have much to be concerned about.

Election turnouts are falling. In 1950, the General Election turnout was nearly 84%. In the European Elections this year it was nearer 34%. The current Government commands a majority of 62 in the House of Commons, yet it only received a 35% share of the vote. In the 1980s the last Government changed the country beyond recognition yet it never received a majority of the popular vote. There is still a House of Lords with influence over legislation that is accountable to no-one. Scottish MPs have influence over English matters but not vice versa in many cases. A rotten handful of MPs have used the House of Commons as a cash cow rather than a legislative chamber. And local government has been emasculated by an increasingly powerful centralised state.

This is a broken system that is leaving millions disconnected. To me and many others this disconnection is due to more than just disillusion with politics and politicians. The only thing that will reverse the trends is real change to the way we do things.

The ideas that were proposed last week included proposals centred on proportional representation, open primaries, better accountability, more local democracy, greater freedom of information and the use of direct elections to senior government positions. These ideas will be submitted to the Power 2010 campaign by Compass Youth. If you would like to submit an idea of your own you still can. Visit Power2010 for more details.

2010 will be an important year for politics. Hopefully through events like this
Compass Youth will take its place at the centre of the debate.

Ed Mayne


We’ve been out and about. People often confuse exciting and gimmicky. There is nothing gimmicky about cleaning up politics and fighting for a fairer voting system. This would transform our democracy. But with such a complex issue, the only way to get people fired up is to tap into what makes them tick.

As Crazy Epic says "Gen Y are politically motivated, politically mobilised, and have the tools to spread their opinions. Events such as Zombie Walk show that they also have the creativity to make themselves heard."

That's why we toured London to film young people with Ed the Duck on what they would do if they were MP for a day and dressed up as zombies for Halloween marching down Westminster as part of the Vote for a Change campaign. Watch the video and be scared, very scared.


As taxpayers, we provided £40 billion to save the banks yet one million young people are now out of work and two million households are waiting for social housing. We bailed out the banks. We failed to bail out the people. As we approach the threat of a double dip recession, what policies do we need to make sure we put people first before the market?


* Prem Sikka, Professor of Accounting Essex University
* Cat Smith, Vice Chair Compass Youth
* Sam Tarry, Chair Young Labour
* Duncan Bowie Chartist EB
* Gus Baker, Compass Youth Students Coordinator

Join us at Portcullis House (Thatcher Room) on 10 December between 6.30-8.30 pm.



It's time to clean up the house... Politics is in a mess. So Ed's leaving the pond to clean up the House. Tired of hearing about MPs expenses and second jobs? Politics is too vital to be left to politicians. So we asked people on the street, what would you do if you were an MP for a day? Click here to see the video!

They choose change, do you? Real change will only happen with your support. So what are you waiting for?

Sign up for Vote for a Change now!

It's time to wake up the undead...

Next Friday 30th October, the night before Halloween, we want you to join our protest against Britain's outdated political system and its unaccountable MPs. Come to Parliament Square, Westminster at 7.15pm and join the largest costumed protest ever recorded there. Look out for the Compass Youth banner and come and join us. Expect press and cameramen - so bring your best Halloween outfit!

At 8pm, we will start our Zombie Walk up Whitehall, past Downing Street and across Trafalgar Square to our afterparty.Come in any scary Halloween costume, ready to act as the UK’s undead politicia

Special prizes will go to the scariest politician costumes.
We can now exclusively let you know that anyone attending the rally will get FREE ENTRY & FREE DRINK at the official protest afterparty happening from 8.30 pm at Tiger Tiger.

Join us for the Zombie Walk

Submit your article for Compass Points The second issue of Compass Points, the newsletter of Compass Youth, will be released shortly and we're currently looking for material. Stories, opinion pieces, humour writing, cartoons, photos, quotations, youtube: all material gratefully received. Email your article to

What will you pledge?

Sign up for Vote for a Change

Join us for the Zombie Walk


In the run up to Copenhagen, how do we get a global agreement on climate that truly puts climate justice at its heart? How do we respond to the jobs crisis and growing poverty around the world? How do we ensure the global green new deal the world needs? How we do we show that cuts are not the only option, and demonstrate what Putting People First really looks like?

Come and join us at the Put People First G20 Counter Conference. We're bringing together academics, activists, campaigners, unions, policy makers and YOU to share ideas on what the alternatives are to cuts, cuts and more cuts, and how we must organise across our issues, of jobs, justice and climate, to make the alternative the reality.

After marching for jobs, justice and climate in March and debating how we put people first.

Sign up for the conference now!

How do we mobilise?

After marching for jobs, justice and climate in March and debating how we put people first, Compass Youth will be taking part by hosting the afternoon session on How do we mobilise activists to campaign with Jon Cruddas MP, John Harris (The Guardian), Climate Camp and Noel Hatch (Compass Youth).

Sign up for the conference now!

Speaking up for jobs, justice and climate

There'll also be sessions through the day with an amazing line up of speakers, including: Tony Juniper (Princes Rainforests Projects), Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (Former Danish prime minister and president of the PES), Jon Cruddas MP, Deborah Doane (director of World Development Movement), Billy Hayes (general secretary of Communication Workers Union), Caroline Lucas MEP (leader of the Green Party), Diane Elson (University of Essex), Jesse Griffiths (Bretton Woods Project), Noel Hatch (Compass Youth), John Hilary (War on Want), Catherine Howarth (FairPensions), Neal Lawson (Compass), Larry Lohman (The Corner House), Sarah-Jayne Clifton (Friends of the Earth), Andrew Simms (new economics foundation), Glen Tarman (BOND), Hilary Wainwright (Red Pepper).

We've bailed out the banks, it's time to bail out the people

In March, we marched in our tens of thousands to demand the G20 Put People First. Far from putting people first, we’ve seen nothing but a tinkering around the margins followed by the return to business as usual.

On Nov 7, as the G20 returns to the UK, the agenda on the table nurses an already failed economic model back to life, whilst looking to sew up an unjust international climate deal outside the UN process.

They bailed out the banks to the tune of billions, and now the only choice offered is what cuts are made to pay for it.

Government intervention to create a Green New Deal is slipping off the agenda, and yet strong alliances are forming - environmentalists and trade unionists have been standing side by side at Vestas to save the UK’s largest wind turbine factory.

"The irony of the crisis, is that its the people with the most vulnerable working and living conditions who were already victims of corporate and neo colonialist greed, who are still being left out in the cold. We bailed out the banks but forgot to bail out the people. It's time to take back society, it's time to save our future."

Noel Hatch, Chair of Compass Youth

Sign up for the conference now!

What will you pledge?

Book your FREE place now for an inspirational day of discussion and organising and help spread the word.

Sign up for the conference now!

This conference is supported by ActionAid, Action for a Global Climate Community, BOND, Bretton Woods Project, Change is Coming, Compass, Compass Youth, Ekklesia, Fairtrade Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Global Call to Action Against Poverty, GMB, Helpage International, Jubilee Scotland, Jubilee Debt Campaign, National Union of Teachers, new economics foundation, New Internationalist, People and Planet, Progressio, Stop AIDS Campaign, Stop Climate Chaos, Stamp out Poverty, Trades Union Congress, UNISON, WILPF, World Development Movement, War on Want and WWF-UK.


We've teamed up with POWER2010 so you can have your say in how we need to make our democracy can work for us all. Do you want cleaner funding? Fairer voting? Better accountability? You decide.

So sign up now with us and POWER2010 to tell us your ideas to reform our democracy on Monday 26th October at 6.30-8.30pm at the Railway Tavern (Mezzanine). Sign up now and add the date in your calendar.

Our democracy's gone bust...Sign up now!


You might think that things couldn't get any worse after finding out politicians claiming to represent us are using taxpayers' money to build houses for ducks rather than homes for people and preferring to attack each other than attack the recession. With Big Brother off our screens, this is the only reality show in town left.

As the MPs fiddle while our democracy's burning, we know the only people who can change politics are all of us. None of the parties have committed to any genuine democratic reform, it's like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas. It's up to us to make them!

...Help us get it working again!


Tell us your ideas for changing the way we run our country and we'll feed them into POWER2010. All the ideas submitted will then be considered by a citizens' panel selected from across the UK who will decide the list of proposals to be put to the public vote.

The five most popular ideas will then become the POWER2010 Pledge. Every candidate standing at the next election will be asked to make a public commitment to this pledge - to clean up and reform politics.

Our democracy deserves better, we deserve better, let's change it.



In advance of our workshop next Monday 19th October "SWaP your Story", we want to start bringing together Compass Youth activists interested in the environment, so to find out what type of activities we should run on this, we asked "what climate change campaigner are you?".

We've found an activist who's a
Saver and a Waver!

Over to you Amber!

"I have had an amazing weekend, and for various reasons, different in each case, I thought I'd tell you something about it.

This weekend I have been at a conference of 400-ish young people (aged <25)>eight-minute vid (stick with it past the polar bear with the violin, and there's a fully referenced version of the facts from the script available on the website) or 350.

If you get that this is scary, but want to try to sort it out before it's too late

  • Visit (and look at the list of partner organisations at the bottom of the page, it's amazing)
  • Sign up to promise to reduce your CO2 emissions at 10:10 (the list of those who've already signed up make this one big british deal)

Older people may well be dead before the impacts of climate change affect us here in Britain significantly. We, however will only be in our early sixties by 2050, the date by which the international community plan to have significantly reduced harmful climate changing gas emissions.

Not only is this like saying you'll quit smoking by 2050, it is insufficient to keep CO2 levels below 350 parts per million, judged to be the safe level. There are already 385 parts per million in the atmosphere - LET'S SAVE OURSELVES! There's a big summit happening in December, now is the time to make some noise.

Peace, love, see you in the pub, where I promise not to mention this unless you do first"

Amber Donebauer

What climate change campaigner are you? Do you want to share your experience of being involved in campaigning, your thoughts on an issue that matters to you? Get in touch with me now at

Sign up for our first ever workshop on the environment!



I want to make sure that for each of you, Compass Youth can be exciting and rewarding. I want you to be able to have your say and do something about it with others where you are. That's why I'm really excited about another local group launching this Friday. After Norwich, I would like to welcome the launch of our new local group in Oxford.

Over to the local coordinator, Jeremy Cliffe:

"The Spanish writer Javier Marías once described Oxford as “a static city preserved in syrup”. He had a point. Attributes of change, progress and radicalism, easily applied to red brick university cities, do not sit so comfortably alongside the images of ancient quads and arcane ritual that grace tourist brochure after film set after souvenir tea towel. Politically, Oxford is wedged between Witney, the true-blue constituency of David Cameron, and Henley, BoJo's former parliamentary fiefdom. It is the Bullingdonian cradle of the dominant duo of today’s Conservative Party.

Yet Oxford also has a
distinctly left-of-centre political profile. Labour is the largest party on the City Council, followed by the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the Independent Working Class Association. It is an important seat of progressive thought, home to two world-class universities and a number of prominent NGOs. Oxford University has a vibrant Labour Club, as well as prominent Liberal Democrat and Green movements and numerous other student and academic groups devoted to environmentalism, social justice and equality.

From Friday 16th October, there is a new ingredient in the mixture. Compass Oxford seeks to draw on the city's unique political and cultural profile to contribute to the renewal of the democratic left. It will hold a series of events in and around the city, harnessing the varied backgrounds and viewpoints of progressives in Oxford by bringing together figures from the left-of-centre political parties with academics, journalists, NGOs and non-affiliated students and local residents. The aim of the exercise is to create a lean, mean campaigning machine for left-wing issues in and around Oxford - and a uniquely open and bipartisan forum for debate.

For the coming months Compass Oxford has planned speakers, discussions, panel debates, political visits and social events, involving a number of high-profile political and cultural figures active on the local, national and international stages. Events will feature discussions on what ‘the left’ means today, on the viability of a more plural progressive movement, on campaign strategies for the upcoming general election and on thematic issues such as the environment, gender and social justice.

After all, beyond its picture postcard façade, Oxford really is more than just a tourist destination. It is a living city fizzling with energy and new ideas, a left-liberal oasis in an otherwise conservative part of the country. Progressives - be they students, academics or local residents - have good reason to be proud of this environment. It is with this conviction that Compass Oxford will be launched, at 7:30pm on Friday 16th October in the Rainolds Room in Corpus Christi College. All are welcome."

Jeremy Cliffe, Oxford Compass Youth Coordinator

For more details click here.

If you're interested in setting up a local group or would like Compass Youth to come and speak where you are, contact me now at



Compass Youth are campaigning on Young People and the Recession. But we know this isn't just an economic crisis, it's an environmental one too. But let's stop agonising and start organising. Saving the environment saves you money - swap your clothes with friends rather than buy those made from sweat shops. Fighting climate change is exciting and successful - swoop a power station and you too can stop it pumping out dirty coal like at Kingsnorth.

We want to start bringing together
Compass Youth activists interested in climate change, so to find out what type of activities we should run on this, tell us:

What climate change campaigner are you?

Camper, Mapper, P&Per, Pledger, Runner, Saver, Stormer, Swooper or a Waver ?

Sign up now!

Come and join us on this unique opportunity to get together with other young people and save the environment!


Sign up now here!
Any questions or want to find out more? Email us now!


No more dictators in Latin America

End all US financial support to the coup

Meeting — Wednesday 14 October, 7.30pm


  • Ken Livingstone

  • Katherine Ronderos (Central America Women's Network) will give an eyewitness account of her recent visit to Honduras
  • Tony Lloyd MP,

    Parliamentary Labour Party

  • Colin Burgon MP

  • Alvaro
    Venezuela Embassy

  • Steve Hart, Regional
    Secretary, Unite London and Eastern

  • Dr Francisco
    of Latin America Studies,
    Middlesex Uni

  • Plus videos and
    messages from Honduras


Transport House,
Unite the Union Building, 128 Theobalds Road, London,
WC1X 8TN (Nearest tube: Holborn.) For a map click here.

Last month President Zelaya returned to Honduras after being ousted in a military coup. He has since been taking refuge in the Brazilian Embassy. When tens of thousands took to the streets to welcome President Zelaya back, the Honduran coup regime responded with widespread violence. A number of people have been killed as a result of repression and a clampdown on civil liberties has seen hundreds arrested and the closure of independent media.

This public meeting will update on the situation in Honduras and how we can offer solidarity to help bring President Zelaya back to the Presidency and restore democracy in Honduras.

Supported by:


This meeting is part of the activities of the Emergency Committee Against the Coup in Honduras. The Committee involves Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, Labour Friends of Venezuela, UNITE the Union, UNITE London & Eastern Regions, South East Region TUC, and other bodies of the British Labour movement and Latin

American communities.

Visit the blog at


Apart from the loose connotation it had with left-wing politics, the term progressive was always quite vague, even to begin with. The conservatives’ decision to position themselves as progressives has served to mystify the term further. However, out of the mainstream political parties in the UK it must be said the Labour Party and the Greens have the most credible claim to that mantle - even if, in the case of the Labour Party, this is in spite of its leaders and some of the policies they uphold.

The Socialist and Environmentalist movements share a great deal in common and can learn a lot from each other. Firstly is a belief in equality. On the red side this means ensuring that the objective social conditions are in place for each individual to enjoy freedom in practice. The environmentalist movement adds a further dimension to this ideal, stressing the need for equality between present and future generations in our ability to live comfortably on this planet

The development and eventual collapse of the New Labour Project has caused an identity crisis in the Labour Party. Due to this, the question has become not if but when and by how much the Tories will win the next election. Nevertheless, a vacuum for new ideas is present which could be filled with social democratic policies for the 21st century.

The fact that the conservatives felt the need to adopt progressive language shows there is fundamental support for left of centre ideas – it is an admission that there is, indeed, a “progressive majority” to be tapped into. However, it is also clear they are disenchanted with New Labour.

So with an uncertain future ahead of us, what will the left in Britain look like? There are a huge number of possibilities. In this seminar we will look at the prospects for ‘Reds’ and ‘Greens’ to cooperate, not just in opposition to the Conservatives, but also constructively forming a broad left-of-centre coalition which could do justice to the beleaguered “progressive majority” in Britain.

Adrian Bua-Jones, Compass Youth Norwich Coordinator

Come and join us on 16th October at "The Future of the Left - A Red/Green Alliance?" with an amazing panel of speakers:

  • Dr Rupert Reed, Green Norwich North PPC & City Councillor
  • Samuel Tarry, National Chair of Young Labour
  • Gavin Hayes, Compass General Secretary
UEA Congregration Hall - Room 1.07

For more information, contact Adrian Bua, 07824825241 or


The backstabbing and snake-like games of last years Labour Conference (2008) was replaced with a change in tone this year, all without making large revolutionary changes. I arrived as a GMB delegate- being the youth representative for the first and last time (I will be too old next year).

My initial feeling was that of gloom and doom- that Gordon Brown’s headache had become a migraine and that he would drag a half twitching carcass through the conference.
Sunday was unspectacular, with the highlights being a fairly good speech by Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain, and a better speech by outgoing First Minister of Wales Rhodri Morgan - it was apparent that he had resisted some of the worse aspects of New Labour during his time in office (much like his equivalent in London, Ken Livingstone) when he explained some of his initiatives such as scrapping prescription charges, and also some more recent significant programmes to prevent job losses and companies collapsing in Wales.

Monday was the turn of Lord Peter Mandelson to take to the stage (and a stage he sees it) his speech amusing but it failed to convert myself or the GMB delegation to “loving him” as the media claimed. Some of our delegation, were pretty motionless the whole time he spoke! But at least he made some admission that a lot of people in the party didn’t trust him or his politics!

Gordon Brown’s speech on Tuesday in my opinion was actually slightly weaker than his speech last year. Whilst fairly explaining how the Government had done their best in propping up the economy whilst it crashed, and drawing clear lines between the Tories; and peppered with some positive initiatives such as scrapping carparking charges in hospitals and extending care for elderly and rolling back ID cards, it took a negative turn when he announced proposals for single mothers- clearly playing to the tabloids, and with no detail to explain how this would be implemented.

The tone of the conference was slightly different to previous ones - Paul Kenny, General Secretary of the GMB said to me “It’s the first time I can remember the leadership and ministers being apologetic for the mistakes they’ve made in the last few years.”
The broad feeling was that of greater optimism than at the start of the conference, greater sense that the party could move closer towards the kind of politics we truly want, and less certainty that David Cameron would be PM next year.

Yue Ting Cheng, Trade Union Coordinator

Thanks to mag3737 for the photo published under Creative Commons


The main news from the Labour Party conference both for us at Compass Youth and arguably the conference as a whole was the rule change to allow ordinary party members to directly elect representatives to Labour's chief policy-making body (previously the process was more controlled by the party). See Compass Youth activist and National Chair of Young Labour Sam Tarry's article here.

While other sectors of the left worked to draft and build support for the rule change, it was proposed by National Vice Chair of Compass Youth - Cat 'We Will Not Remit' Smith, who made the opening speech on this issue to the conference hall, see this link 51 minutes in here.

Young Labour and Compass Youth activists were also involved in building momentum and distributing publicity to gain support for this rule change (it passed with 67% in favour), and were recognised for their important role by leftwing group the 'Campaign for Labour Party Democracy'.
A great success and example of what the youth movement can achieve! There's already talk of electing a significant proportion of young people as part of the 55 delegates to the new National Policy Forum, which will influence Labour's direction after the next general election.

Luke Pearce, National Secretary of Compass Youth


You told us about your "green" ideas, from carbon taxes, green jobs to school gardening. Do you want to have your say on how to campaign on climate change and do something about it with others where you are?

If so, come and join Compass Youth & Change is Coming (ChiC) at "SWaP your Story" on Monday 19th October 6.30-8.30 pm at the Railway Tavern, Liverpool St (London).

Tell us why the environment matters more than ever in the recession. Find out how you can make change happen where you are with other activists and groups. Try out exciting techniques so you can get other people involved in the environmental movement.

Don't miss out, book your place now!

This workshop is open to all activists, whether you want to share your environmental involvement or if you want to make their first steps. Sign up at

Any questions or want to find out more? Email us now! If you can't see the video below, click here.

The only change worth fighting...

We don’t just listen to what you care about, we work with you so you can do something about it together. Because I know if you give people an inch, they'll give you a mile. That’s why I invited one of our activists Becky to run our first ever session on the environment.

Becky runs Change is Coming (ChiC), which encourages increased recognition of the power and responsibility of individuals in responding to and initiating change, through the use of creative & collaborative action. ChiC's primary venture is - a collaborative mapping directory compiling activity & debate for the growing environmental movement.

...It's time to get ChiC

You may be concerned about the threat of climate change, but find it hard to communicate it in times of recession and financial uncertainty. You may want to get involved in the environmental movement, but feel unsure where to start. You may just want to find out more. Either way, come and join us at SWaP the Story!

Noel Hatch

National Chair

Compass Youth


I watched Fox News for the first time last night. In a nutshell, along with occasional expert advice from our friend Dan Hannan, they try and make people believe that there’s a socialist conspiracy to take over the world. If only, I thought... And then something struck me maybe there is…
  1. We had a Republican president going all socialist by providing around $1tn to bail out financial institutions so that the economy didn’t go bust.

  2. We had Wall Street falling in love with nationalisation because it's all they had left.

  3. We’ve got the Lord who runs the agency regulating financial services supporting the iconic Tobin Tax pledge of the anti globalisation movement.

  4. And now we’ve got the conservative duo Sarkozy and Merkel making the running to tame excessive pay and bonuses in banks.

I never realised there were on our side! And then I realised they tried to convince us they were when they expalined how the excessive greed of the other “masters of the universe” was somehow contributing to the economy. “Yes we can” they all must have said when they gave themselves bigger and bigger bonuses, higher and higher pay.

So it does feel slightly strange that many people now applaud the Establishment for calling for policies which were deemed too radical when those less in thrawl to the City called for them?

As Jackie Ashley comments, “If everyone is a member of the soggy centrist consensus, serious thinking becomes flabby and the point of parliamentary politics declines…Who can now say that the iron discipline of New Labour MPs during the boom years was such a good thing? If it meant that there was very little probing of the City and banking practice, wasn't that a mistake?”

There was (is?) as much iron discipline by MPs towards the City as there was towards their party whips. From all sides of the house. While we warned that the excessive greed of the fat cats probably affects social cohesion more than a teenager spraying graffiti on your wall, the government are still giving out ASBOs to kids and letting bankers at government-controlled banks give themselves bonuses.

But let's move beyond the "we told you so" (we did…he did even earlier) and look at how we can get out of this mess.

There are many proposals around proposing maximum wage ratios or bonus taxation. Of course these all need to be considered and the thread that brings these all together is the urgent need to review excessive pay across the board.

Now that doesn't sound too radical does it? Well…no actually, as 65% of the public polled here agree we need a High Pay Commission that would do exactly that. OK, so surely all those people must have been socialists? Well…no, as 66% of Labour voters are up for it, but so are 63% of Tories and 75% of Lib Dems.

So are we going to wait for other “masters of the universe” to tell us what to think or are we going to start rocking the boat for the right reasons?


I remember sitting in a school assembly when I was about 14 and my old head teacher, Mr Kapur, got on stage and started reiterating Tony Blair’s famous mantra – ‘education, education, education.’ Mr Kapur spoke about how privileged we were in getting an education and how none of us should take school for granted. I certainly took his message on board. My family have always focussed on the importance of education and how ‘education is one’s ticket to freedom.’

I come from a very ambitious family. This was demonstrated by my grandfather who began life in the UK as ragman who had to fight prejudice and racism on his way to becoming a successful businessman.

This ambition and willingness to break down barriers manifested itself in my uncle becoming the first Sikh to be admitted into a grammar school in Birmingham, in 1964.

My uncle and auntie are my heroes as they have brought me up since the age of 4 and have always encouraged me to be my best. I admire their kindness in doing such a thing - bringing up somebody else’s child is hard enough, but it can be even harder when they have a disability.

I was born with Cerebral Palsy and use an electric wheelchair due to my limited mobility. I started off in a special needs school but my uncle fought for me to go to a mainstream school and we finally succeeded at the age of 10. Since then, I went from strength to strength in terms of education and finally graduated from The University of Manchester with my 2:1 Psychology (BSc) degree in 2008 – education was, and still is, my ticket to freedom and without it I don’t think my future career would seem as bright.

I must admit I have never really struggled academically in terms of understanding ideas, but I have in terms of my access needs being met. During high school I was always catching up on making notes as I did not have a note taker in lessons. At 6th form I was considered to be a ‘health and safety hazard’ and could not stay on site without a support worker. This meant that I had to go home during my free periods whilst my other peers could sit in the library at school. However, I have adopted my uncle’s stubbornness and ambition and eventually got my 3 As at A-levels.

You would think that achieving such results would make it easy to choose what university I wanted to go to…it was far from easy. Social services made it immensely difficult and even advised me to stay at home to do a ‘Learn Direct’ course because funding my care package was going to be extremely complicated and very difficult. My uncle’s daughter helped me battle with them in order for me to study at Manchester.

My educational support at university was fantastic. It was funded through the Local Educational Authority and my needs were met. I still had a lot of problems with my personal support care package which made things difficult especially in my 3rd year.

I did it though! I succeeded. I was extremely lucky to have support from all my family and friends when the time came.

Unfortunately my story is far from unique. A lot of disabled people have to struggle with getting what they need in order to carry out simple every day tasks. Disability cannot be mistaken as that only belonging to the elderly, it is across the board. There are many types of disabilities some being physical, but a majority being hidden – mental health issues being a prime example – it is widely known that 1 in 4 people experience a mental health issue over the course of their lifetime. It saddens me to think that some disabled people may give up their hopes and aspirations as the ‘system’ can just be too much of a hurdle to overcome both physically and mentally.

The exciting news is that disabled people are beginning to come together in the political arena to challenge the issues faced by them. I myself am heavily involved with the Disabled Students Campaign within the National Union of Students’. I have also been elected on Compass Youth’s committee – which I am very excited about. Like Gandhi once said, I believe ‘we are the change that we seek in the world’ and one day I do believe that the world will be more accessible for all. If disabled people want to see a change and can get involved with politics and the law in anyway, shape, or form, they should grab the opportunity to do so.

This leads me to my final message. I’ve already made it clear that disabled people struggle in receiving adequate personal care support. In fact, when social services come to assess what personal care support is needed the normal threshold is decided at 21 hours per week, this breaks down to 3 hours per day. For a majority of physically disabled people a good 2 hours of personal care is needed in the morning and a good 1 hour at night, leaving disabled people struggling during the day. If that disabled person cannot rely on friends and family then this is certainly ‘a recipe for disaster.’ You can of course get more than 21 hours, but ‘proving’ your need and fighting for it is extremely difficult. Often care staff are inadequately trained to meet specific needs which in turn can make disabled people extremely vulnerable – physically and mentally.

AA & DLA Threat

On the 14th July the Future of Care Green paper was published by the Department of Health and the Department of Work and Pensions – it will aim to remove Attendance Allowance from the individual and possibly their Disability Living Allowance depending how the public respond to it. The benefits would go straight to social services and it will be up to them as to how to spend the money. The consultation period will finish on the 13th November.

If this happens I believe it would certainly impact a disabled person’s liberty. Disabled people would lose the personal choice as to how they want to spend their benefits and I do not think that this liberty should be taken away. Often these benefits are used on things like funding a suitable carer/Personal Assistant, or transport (taxis if people can’t use buses) and many other things. If this is to be taken away from the individual and given to agencies such as social services, it would truly be a sad day.

The below campaign provides further information about the proposal and if this article has made you think about disability issues then please take action here.

Finally, the time has come where disabled people are working together politically to change the world. It has taken us too long to gain this control, and it must not be threatened by such backward looking measures.



We're delighted to inform you of the results of the elections for the Compass Management Committee and the Compass Youth Organising Committee. We would like to thank all of the candidates that stood in this year's elections.

It's amazing that this year 20 people stood for the Management Committee and an even greater sign for the future of Compass that 23 stood for the Compass Youth Organising Committee, demonstrating a high level of activism and engagement within the organisation which is very encouraging.

For the Compass Management Committee the following candidates were elected list in alphabetical order:

Mark Cooke
Ben Folley
Sue Goss
Jenna Khalfan
Neal Lawson
Meg Russell
Sam Tarry
Chuka Umunna

For the Compass Youth Organising Committee the following candidates were elected listed in alphabetical order:

Jamie Audsley
Kaveh Azarhoosh
Yue-Ting Cheng
Tom Copley
Katy Dillon
Noel Hatch
Lucille Harvey
Rupy Kaur
Luke Pearce
Christine Quigley
Cat Smith
Ben Soffa

Congratulations to all those who were elected and our commiserations to all those candidates that were not successful this year.

The committee elections are just one way that Compass members get to have a democratic say in the way that the organisation is run. Members will also get the opportunity to have their say on the future of Compass at our AGM which will this year take place on Saturday 14 November 2009 in London (venue TBC).

Unite for Iran!

Join Compass Youth this Saturday in a Rally called by Human and Civil Rights activists from around the world in solidarity with the People of Iran

For More Information Contact Kaveh Azarhoosh on 07835026468 or at


Time: 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Location: Start from opposite Iranian embassy

From United4Iran website

United4Iran is a non-partisan collaborative of individuals and human rights organizations. United4Iran does not promote any political agenda. Our only aim is to condemn the widespread and systematic violations of the Iranian people’s human rights and to call for full restoration of their human and civil rights.

We came together to organize a Global Day of Action on July 25th so the citizens of the world can stand together for:

1) Civil and human rights for the people of Iran
2) Stopping the abuse of power—the imprisonment, torture and killing
3) Solidarity with the Iranian people. To our Iranian brothers and sisters: We have heard your voices, and you are not alone.

What’s happening?

On Saturday July 25, people around the world have the opportunity to support the people of Iran in their struggle for democracy, freedom and basic human rights by attending rallies in dozens of cities around the world.

Why a global day of action?

On June 12th, Iranians participated in a presidential election marred by accusations of widespread fraud and voting irregularities. In the days that followed, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest the official election results. The Iranian government’s brutal response to these protests has left at least 20 people dead, hundreds more badly injured, and still hundreds more arrested and at high risk of torture and execution. These acts are a direct assault on the Iranian people’s human and civil rights – and those of everyone who supports these ideals around the world.

Since the contested elections on June 12th, hundreds of thousands of people have participated in hundreds of demonstrations in at least 40 major cities in 15 countries. However, no globally coordinated event has yet been organized. On July 25 people around the world can support the people of Iran in their struggle for democracy, freedom and basic civil rights.

What do we hope to achieve?

The global day of action is organized around the following core demands:

That the international community uphold the Iranian people’s human rights as a matter of international concern, and that the UN Secretary General should immediately appoint a delegation to travel to Iran to investigate the fate of prisoners as well as disappeared persons;
The immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, including journalists, students, and civil society activists;
An end to state-sponsored violence, and accountability for crimes committed; and
Freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and freedom of press as guaranteed by the Iranian constitution and Iran’s obligations under international covenants that it has signed.

What do we believe in?

We agree with the following values and visions:

“If one country sincerely wants to support democracy in another country that is under dictatorial rule, the only thing to do is to support the freedom fighters who stand for the democratic institutions of that country. Done this way, the sapling of democracy will bear the flower of freedom.” – Shirin Ebadi, Iranian human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner

“The Campaign is founded on these principles: that human rights in Iran, and in every country, are a matter of legitimate international concern and essential to establishing international peace and security; that human rights in Iran can only be implemented with the assistance of civil society, whose role must be protected and sustained; that human rights compliance in Iran should be approached from a non-partisan perspective, and detached from political objectives; and that solidarity with any and all peoples prevented from enjoying their human rights is a moral imperative of our time.” –International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

We do not have any political agenda; our only aim is to support the people of Iran in their struggle for democracy, freedom and basic civil rights.


At Compass Youth, we are always looking for new ways of bringing our campaigns closer to the community. The ideas we try out, the campaigns we work on, the relationships we build together.

Having been inspired by the "talking wall" of a community group in South Africa,
I want youth activists to tell their narrative. I'm constantly amazed by the energy and passion of the people I meet - whether they're our members, supporters or from other campaigning groups - and the talents they bring to making change happen.

I wanted to share those
stories with you. I hope you enjoy them.
Do you want to share your experience of being involved in campaigning, your thoughts on an issue that matters to you? Get in touch with me now at

This month, Rupy Kaur, founder of ABLE and member of the NUS Disabled Committee tells us her story. Over to you Rupy!

"Like every student considering going to university, I wanted to ‘fly the nest’ to move as far away as possible from home. How very exciting!? I was looking at all sorts of universities to begin my journey of development and the independence that comes with it. I was ordering prospectuses, looking at different courses and choosing places to live. That’s when it hit me - the fact that I have a disability meant that going through the UCAS process wouldn’t be as easy for me as it was for my peers.

Basically I have Cerebral Palsy (CP). CP can affect people in varying degrees. It is not a life threatening condition and it can happen at time of birth or early childhood. The common cause of CP is a lack of oxygen supplied to the baby’s brain whilst the mother is in labour. Due to the brain not receiving that oxygen, parts of it become damaged and consequentially can cause a ‘wide’ range of disabilities – which can include both learning and/or physical disabilities. As you can see it’s not very easy to put all types of disabilities in one box. My CP has affected me in such a way where I have reduced mobility and therefore use an electric wheelchair (which is in need of pimping! Hehe – I think I may need Xzibit on the case rather than Westwood).

I, like many other students with varying degrees of disability, have struggled through the educational process and in life generally. I’m not complaining though – and in some sort of ironic way, I am glad to have battled through the system as if I had an easy ‘ride’, I’d probably wouldn’t be campaigning today.

Going back to university - to make life a little simple, I decided to remain in Manchester – I liked the look of The University of Manchester and decided to read Psychology. Now I needed to get some support in ‘getting there’ not in terms of my A level grades but accessibility wise.

I contacted the Disability Support Office (DSO) at the university who advised me to speak to social services with regards to personal care. The DSO would handle all the educational side of things (e.g. organising note-takers, equipment, lecture handouts etc).

Every disabled person has a social worker who assesses what needs each individual has and if funding is necessary for a particular reason, it is their duty to report those needs to a panel of ‘judge’ type people who either agree with what is being requested or not. The sad story is that often students are ‘put off’ the idea of going to university due to the sheer amount of effort it takes in getting there in the first place and social services don’t really encourage students to go either.

Some of the types of questions I received from my social worker were ‘Why do you want to go to university?’ Why don’t you study from home…you know, do a Learn Direct course or something along those lines?’ ‘So what are you going to do if the fire alarm goes off in your halls of residence, then you try to get out of the building and as you get to the door your chair breaks, then you would block everybody in? (Serious, not a joke!). My favourite one so far is ‘how many times do you go to the loo a day, would you benefit from a catheter?’ Hmm….HELL NO! So as you can see going through social services was a mission in itself.

So if students actually make it to university they not only have the same worries as non disabled students but extra worries such as how to organise personal care, study support, equipment etc. Some decide to drop out during the first few weeks of uni – this obviously isn’t a good thing.

Finally succeeding I moved into Richmond Park bringing suitcases and even a portable hoist, which helps me, transfer from my wheelchair. I meet my Personal Assistants (PAs) and my flat mates. Everything was going well for about a week then I realised that things were not going to turn out as bright as I thought they would. The PAs had inadequate training, were young and had difficult communication skills. In spite of this I tried to immerse myself with my flatmates but they would go to places that I couldn’t go to due to not having wheelchair access and whenever I tried to invite myself along there would be that awkward silence as they knew the places that they were going to would not have decent access for me.

However, I still had the fighting spirit in me maybe I’d make friends on my course? This wasn’t so easy either. Due to the lecture theatres, I had to sit at the front and of course students like to fall asleep in lectures so the further away they are from the front the better. So I couldn’t really mix with the people from my course either. What was I to do? I was surrounded by lots of people but felt really alone. After 4 weeks of staying in halls I decided to move back home but commuted everyday to my lectures.

As you can see it is pretty tough making that transition from school/college to university especially those with disabilities. When I started uni I was a typical fresher in the sense I wanted to join any society that encouraged drinking! I thought by socialising with new students it would take the pressure off everything else. So I went to fresher’s week and there were no societies really accessible for disabled students.

I was determined to go out and socialise and even though maybe for the wrong reasons initially I, and some other excellent students, set up a student society called ABLED which any student, disabled or not, could join. In turn most of our members were either disabled, or had a disabled friend or had a disabled sibling. Consequentially, by its own very nature the society became political and started to campaign on disabled issues.

However, it was political in the sense of making the ‘world’ better accessible to all rather than aligning to any political group/party.

From ABLED I was elected to be on the Disabled Committee for the National Union of Students.

To cut the long story short, I think it’s hard for disabled people to get involved with politics. We have all these parties and it’s difficult to know who to vote for when disability issues are side swept. Disability issues are side swept as I believe there’s not enough representation in society for disabled people to push for things to be sorted. The reason as to why disabled people probably don’t vote as much is because policies do not seem to be representative and there tends to be this one whole vicious cycle.

However, there are disabled pressure groups but nobody seems to be communicating with each other and therefore not know what is going on.

I personally believe the student movement can assist with the situation. Disabled students who have been through the process need to go out to spread the word as to how things can be achieved. There needs to be a perceptual change in society too which focuses not on what disabled people cannot do but how society can help in order to achieve their full potential.

Young people need to be at the forefront of this and within political young groups I believe disabled issues need to be highlighted. This will then eventually encourage disabled people to become more politically active as they know that they actually have a voice.

To demonstrate different disabilities people may have – here is a list of some – I think it’s important for people to realise that there are a wide range of disabilities rather than the typical ‘wheelchair user’ that people envisage."

by Rupy Kaur

* Clubfoot
* Paralysis * Amputation * Multiple sclerosis * Parkinson's disease * Cerebral Palsy * Muscular dystrophy * Arthritis * Rheumatoid arthritis * Osteoarthritis * Stroke * Spina Bifida * Visual impairments * Blindness * Low vision * Colour blindness * Cataract * Hearing impairments * Cancer * Autoimmune disease * AIDS * Multiple sclerosis * Renal failure * Cystic fibrosis * Tuberculosis * Diabetes * Hypoglycemia * Chronic fatigue syndrome * Spinal cord injuries * Traumatic brain injuries * Mental health issues * Anorexia * Alzheimer's disease * Phobias * Agoraphobia * Acrophobia * Aleurophobia * Anxiety disorder * Depression * Bipolar disorder * Obsessive compulsive disorder * Schizophrenia * Neurosis * Dyslexia * Down syndrome * Attention deficit disorder and ADHD * Hyperactivity * Autism/Aspergers