Compass Youth held a highly successful workshop and debate at the Progressive London Conference. Over fifty people took part and the results of the 'progressive future' ideas and campaigns will be announced shortly.

The interactive event and all the ideas that came out of it had a fantastic write up in the Guardian Comment is Free:

" ...where the high-ranking politicians failed, the people succeeded. In a series of workshops, participants held serious debates about concrete policies. They talked about increasing vocational jobs by training a new wave of green plumbers and electricians. They talked about starting a campaign to end the rules forcing the voluntary sector to pay for CRB checks – a policy that effectively puts a £45 tax on every volunteer in the UK. In the Young London session, one young woman proposed a microfinance scheme to help young people turn their informal creative activity into income generating talent. Listening to the sessions, it became clear that the UK policy debate has widened, and the political enthusiasm has increased."
Read the full article here.

In the meantime if you missed out catch up with all the action and discussion on Compass Youth TV on You Tube. Here is a taster - Chuka Umunna on a progressive young London interviewed by Compass Youth Chair Samuel Tarry:

Compass Youth Obama Campaign Workshop

Thursday 12th February, 6.30pm,

House of Commons (Committee Room 6)

Obama won the Democratic nomination and then the American Presidency on the back of inspiring and innovative campaigning. Not only did he offer a refreshingly optimistic and hopeful message, but he harnassed technology in new ways to communicate with and mobilise his supporters.

There is much the progressive left can learn from his campaigning techniques, and with that in mind Compass Youth has organised a campaign workshop with three excellent speakers:

Matthew McGregor worked for internet strategy company Blue State Digital for three months during the Obama campaign, and has now set up Blue State Digital's London office. He also ran Jon Cruddas' deputy leadership campaign, winner of Channel 4's 'Political Campaign of the Year' award. He will talk about what set the Obama campaign apart, and what we can learn from it in the UK.

Tom Miller from Compass Youth has blogged for a number of years, now doing so on several platforms, including his own; newerlabour, and LabourList, the newly launched website which aims to provide a space for Labour-based debate. He will discuss the current use of technology in British politics and where things are heading.

Max Freedman is a Parliamentary researcher and the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Kingston and Surbiton. He helped canvass in Ohio during the Obama campaign, and will about how the field campaign operated so effectivly.

For more information or to book a place please contact or join the facebook event here.

"The crisis changes nothing"

The crisis of global capital and the lefts reaction to globalisation; a Compass Youth think-piece - Adrian Bua-Roberts:

"...if the left reverts to the comfort zone it naturally finds within statist discourse it is surrendering its chance to influence the reformation of the transnational state structures within which capital is continually entrenching its dominance.

It is of crucial importance that progressives and the left realise this. Organized labour, acting within the nation state framework, has proved structurally incapable of combating the increased transnational coordination of capital. Improvements in communication and technology have enabled capital to tap into reserve armies of poverty stricken workers around the world, pitching their governments against each other to become more "competitive" in what amounts to a regulatory race to the bottom. In the West, this has began to dissolve the myriad of rights gained through centuries of class struggles and has created a huge downward pressure of wages. Stagnating wages led to increased debt, feeding the capitalist systems' fetish for consumption, laying much of the groundwork for the present crisis."

Read the full article on the compass website.





At Compass Youth, we don't have time for self-indulgence or sectarianism about whose voice best represents young progressives - whatever that might mean. We invite people to express themselves on this blog in a personal capacity to speak from the heart. As Bevan once said "We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over".

Some organisations fear freedom, they grow the need for ever greater control over the people who trusted them enough to sign up in the first place. We relish in embracing and enaging with activists, because if we are going to rebuild the left, we need to change the way different parts of it relate to one another and and the way it relates to the wider world itself. Because it's only by being able to write the story together that we will feel part of the story. Because if we really want to empower our activists, we need to give up control and give them power.

Which is why we challenged people who had signed up to our session on Saturday @ Progressive London Conference to share their thoughts & views on the issues facing young people and what we should be doing about them. Before we bring on the debate, you can still sign up to the conf here.

Laurie Penny, Liberal Conspiracy and Red Pepper blogger stepped up to the plate:

"Matty C Roche's latest offering, 'Materialism, Youth, Apathy and Art,' is not a progressive youth voice. It's not even centrist. It reads like the semi-restrained frothings of a 1930s Anglican priest from the Home Counties, peppering contradictory moral pronouncements with a bizarre, tripped out segue into the story of the Giant Spider of Integration that Walked Through Liverpool and united the working class. With the result, apparently, that 'Liverpool is on the improve'. This pseudo-appropriation of anti-youth reasoning is something that urgently needs a response, and here, I'm going to attempt to offer one.

The funny thing is that whenever people accuse members of their own generation of greed, a lack of empathy and a culture that has been bred of materialism that promotes instant gratification, they normally aren't talking about themselves. Unless Matty, self-proclaimed voice of progressive young London, is prepared to put his hand up and say yes, I, too am one of the degenerate, uncultured, polymanaical masses, he is implicitly suggesting that he himself - as a 'cultural activist' and arts affiliate - represents a gleaming exception to this selfish, sordid stereotype. If he were prepared to look outside his tiny box of self-satisfaction, he would see what an amazing bunch of people 'the youth' actually are - in spite of everything.

"I'm sick of people getting down on Generation Y. We are, in general, good kids doing our damn best to adapt to a world whose social parameters are changing month on month and which doesn't seem to want to allow us any foothold unless we happen to be rich, white, male, middle class, well-connected and talented. We are struggling with a culture which is more drenched in violence, inequality, sexual exploitation, vicious materialism and dangerous chemicals than any age-group before us has had to cope with."

Our parents' generation brought us the sexual revolution, legal emancipation of women and ethnic minorities, the death of religion and small-town community, the tearing down of the cruel old orthodoxies. Their job was comparatively easy. It is our task, now, to live in the rubble and try, block by block, to build something new, something better, whilst wrestling the lingering dregs of prejudice, hatred, poverty, social exclusion and intolerance - and we have no-one to look to for guidance on how the world should work, because our mums and dads had no bloody idea either, and still don't.

The elephant in the room remains that rampant materialism is the problem with our parents' generation, not ours. This sort of young Labour reasoning represents a hideously self-loathing internalisation of a lie that not even our parents even really believed, that greed, lack of empathy and material exclusion are somehow our fault, not theirs.

So don't parrot the old guys and tell us we're lazy, and spoilt, and degenerate. Don't tell 'the youth' that they're useless, undisciplined criminals who merit more police powers, more power to teachers, heavier penal sentences and punishments that reflect the crime and so there is fear of recrimination, even conscription for national service - we don't need to be brought into line. We are, in fact, in the process of re-drawing the line.

And no, 'The Arts' are not going to save us. We've got some arts already, thank you very much. We may not have the kind of arts you want us to have, but this generation is creating more art, more music, writing, performance and brilliant new ideas than ever before, most of it cooked up with pirated equipment in the privacy of our own bedrooms and disseminated over the internet.

"We have the technology. We are creating. What most of us want now is a chance to combine creativity with real social progress, a chance to turn our imaginative brilliance to dreaming up a new world for ourselves, where our arts and our ideals have real relevance. To do that on any scale, we need fiscal emancipation and we need proper education, although some of us seem to be managing perfectly well without either - look at London's anti knife-crime initiative."

Look at the new feminist groups, driven by young men and women from across the social spectrum. Look at the voluntary sector, with almost 2 million young people putting in their time for free for one social cause or another.

Poverty still exists now, but for many of us, poverty is a relative concept....people had to work hard and fight to earn things in the past - I've heard this argument before, the 'nobody's really poor anymore' argument, and it's almost universally put out by people who a) have never been poor, b) have never met anyone poor, or c) are fortunate enough to be slightly richer than their parents were and not have caring duties or dependents. Suck it up, Matty: poverty happens, it happens in this country, it happens in every city, now, every day, and millions of young people all over the country are affected by it - more every day, as the recession bites down and school leavers are refused the jobs in the promise of which they have indebted themselves. Deprivation relates both to material poverty and relative poverty, which creates emotional deprivation, social exclusion and ghettoisation. Relative poverty is, in itself, a serious issue, and just because most of the poorest of Britain's poor normally have more to eat than their African equivalents doesn't mean that it's lots of fun to have to decide between school shoes and keeping the house warm over the winter, as so many families still do.

Today's young people have grown up in a society polarised between rich and poor, those who will and will not inherit, with the illusion of opportunity for all dangled hopelessly above our heads - and the orthodoxy with which this status quo has been enforced has left us with fewer visible progressive options than any generation in a hundred years. Many of us have grown up without the supportive, secure family structure that every child needs, however many live-in parents she happens to have. Many of us have grown up without a real sense of community, or in communities riddled with violence, deprivation, drugs and alcohol abuse. A decent, supportive welfare state with efficient schools, healthcare and social security would be a place to start - but the Welfare Bill going through the Commons as I write represents another slice off the dwindling support structure that Britain's disenfranchised youth once relied upon. The Welfare Bill is yet another sign that the government is not listening to the voices of the young, the poor and the socially excluded, and instead taking another turn in that modish cross-party party game, Pin The Blame On The Working Class.

Matty then launches into a rootless romanticisation of the early 1908s as a time when 'unemployment was at an all-time high. People had little or nothing – but they all had nothing together. Few prospects, poverty, and dead-end jobs made people want to fight for a better existence. Workers would be politicized and made aware of issues by their trade unions and there would be a cohesive and constructive vent for their anger and, the youth choose hedonism, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, violence and escapism as their vents.'

This is a truly odd piece of rhetoric. Bizzarre New Labour appropriation of the 'best' parts of Thatcherite free-marketeering and individuation along with a weird fetishisation of the deprivation that they caused is a strange trait that's cropped up in centrist thought over the past few years - New Labour bears a great deal of responsibility for the demise of the trade union movement, and yet its orthodoxy remains that 'things were better back then - we were miserable, sure, but we had each other'. All of which sounds a little too much like a certain Monty Python sketch to be taken entirely seriously, especially if you actually talk to any of the actual people who actually had to live it at the time. The early 80s was nobody's utopia.

One thing the early 80s didn’t have, however, was the hypocrisy of today’s youth-oriented politics. As the bloody teeth of this recession clamp down, we’re realising we’ve been had. The exams we martyred ourselves for, the university education – free to our parents, but not to us – that we indebted ourselves for, the better life that we were promised if we worked hard and played the game whose rules were constantly being rewritten under the table, all of that has been exposed as so much lies and hot air. A million of us are unemployed, and that figure is growing, and when a million of us marched on London in 2003, the voice of young Britain was not listened to then as it is not listened to now. So don’t point the finger and tell us we have too little faith in the political process before you look at how this administration has treated its young people.

The latent class terror that runs in sticky rills under the surface of this article peels away one of its veils when Matty states that the problem is 'a lack of discipline, morals and understanding of where you've come from,' combined with apparent failure to respect our elders. Well, when our elders show us something to respect, maybe we'll listen, but not when what they offer us is insistent othering, othering of the kind that is horribly internalised in this syntactically woeful article. The extent of Matty's direct and wholly undeserved primitivisation of the deprived and/or disrespectful youth he so vilifies is grotesquely exposed in the final paragraph: 'people can't be changed by pushing them form the back, nor can you drag along an unwilling dog and expect him not to dig in his heels.' Unwilling dogs. That's what we are. Apparently.

This is like sticking a giant 'kick me' sign on the back of young Labour. This is appalling. The youth of today are better than this - yes, for all our booze and drugs and sexual freedoms and music that goes beep. I'll tell you what we have going for us that our parents' generation didn't. We have the temerity to have grown up in the cruellest, most hypocritical and most politically disenfranchising of callous capitalist societies for a hundred years and not be cowed.

"We have the technology, and we’ve taught ourselves to use it. We have the courage to adapt to this constantly-changing world, however repeatedly it keeps kicking us in the teeth. Most importantly, as my housemate reminds me, we have much better hair. Suck it up, Matty. It’s politics that are going to have to change for us."

Do you want to share your experience of being involved in campaigning, your thoughts on an issue that matters to you? Get in touch at


It's not because Ken Livingstone isn't Mayor of London any more that we should stop fighting for cheaper public transport, more social housing or the environment.

Our generation gets stereotyped as always wanting instant gratification, pessimistic that everything's wrong with the world and apathetic that they can't change it because those in power won't listen to them anyway.

But there are so many everyday heroes off the radar of opinion leaders who work in the shadows trying to creating positive change in their communities, maybe even where you live or work.

This is why at this session facilitated by Compass Youth at the Progressive London Conference, we have invited an exciting range of speakers to talk about the issues that matter to young people and how we can campaign for a progressive future across London:

David Lammy MP, Minister for Higher Education & IP
Chuka Umunna, Parliamentary Candidate for Streatham
Samuel Tarry, Chair of Compass Youth
Bell Ribeiro-Addy, NUS Black Students' Officer
Nii Sackey, Director of Bigga Fish
Emma Jane Cross, Chief Executive of Beat Bullying

Young people in London are changing the world around them all the time - lobbying for the living wage, fighting against fascism, giving people the freedom to express themselves or campaigning against knife crime & child violence.

We want to make connections that will keep the progressive movement in touch with the most dynamic and innovative ideas and campaigns.

Come and be part of our participative and interactive debate on how we make the future for Young Londoners a progressive one!

At the heart of what drives this session is that it will be shaped by the ideas and people that take part in it.

Register now at

Have you got a spare minute?

Why not spread the word to other young people living in your street, halls of residence or even your neighbourhood! Take the pledge here or text ‘pledge younglondon’ to 60022.

...We are the people we've been waiting for

...Get inspired, get involved, get ready

...It's time to take back society

Watch this space for more info!


We work with a wide range of different groups and organisations and we reach out to new people campaigning on issues that really matter, both in our local communities but also abroad - this is why we're really proud to let you discover more about an exciting group called Creative Youth.

Creative Youth Organisation Nepal (CYON
) is a youth led organisation in Nepal. CYON has been working with different local organisation as well as international organisations for the common goal of youth development as well as social development.

Your browser may not support display of this image.Currently CYON is working in the field of preservation of intangible cultural heritage through youth mobilization. CYON also works on Environment preservation and restoration, youth empowerment and social issues.

CYON’s current work on preservation of intangible cultural heritage is going to established a project named, “culture for development”, which has been developed by CYON secretary Mr. Sajan Baiju.

This project has emphasizes some of the points like:

  • Preservation and Promotion of folk art and culture.
  • Organizing awareness campaigns nationally.
  • Promoting folk art through participation in international festivals and events.
  • Creating markets for Nepali traditional handicrafts.
  • Organizing international cultural festival in Nepal and promoting Nepali art, culture and tradition and cultural tourism.
  • Working with different cultural bodies and agencies nationally and internationally to achieve goal.
  • Making strong agenda addressing cultural issues and their restoration.

CYON has been organizing different awareness programs in Nepal and also it has formed a performance group under CYON secretary Mr. Sajan Baiju. This group will perform Nepali folk dance, music nationally and internationally. Any international festival organizers can contact us for performance of Nepali folk culture.

Under the project, “Culture for Development”, CYON has proposed to establish a “Global Cultural Village”, an educational and artistic institute with a cultural museum inside it. The village will work on preservation and promotion of intangible cultural heritage and also educate about culture and identity. “we have dreamt of making this global village for all the students, researchers, artist and others from all around the globe to know Nepali culture and to share their culture”, says Creative Youth President Mr. Anil Kumar Pariyar. This project will be lead by CYON president Mr. Pariyar. To develop this project we need support from all the people who like the goal of CYON. To help us through the resources and fund you can contact us through our website.

CYON has been training youth with various skills training program and its skill training program phase III is going to be started this march. CYON has celebrated its 1st Anniversary this January. In its short carrier CYON has achieved many things and still long way to go to achieve its goal. It success has been achieved by the support of its well wishers and partners. We are very thankful to compass youth for their opportunity to write and share about Creative Youth and its work. They have been part of our success.

You can visit for more information on creative youth organisation Nepal.


I've commented on the reasons why we should be campaigning for a "living wage" from the student halls of Kings College to the streets of Johannesburg, via the skyscrapers of the City and even across Europe. Friends have been advocating this too and even Obama's new labour secretary, Hilda Solis.

Just reading Mil's post and David Semple's post over at Liberal Conspiracy about regional minimum wages, after San Francisco's decision to increase its minimum wage, it reminded me that we need to push the councils where we live to define what the minimum hourly wage needed to live about the poverty line is - this may be different from city to city (compare London & Liverpool) and region to region (compare the South East and the North East). We also need to get the organisations that employ us to join the growing coalition of "living wage employers".

Obviously, we don’t all have “living wage units” like at the GLA in London, but the “minimum income standard” project run by the JRF provides a well researched measure of how much a worker needs to earn to avoid the effects of poverty, such as ill health, poor levels of child development and social exclusion and not just related to the consumer price index. Calculations can even be made for different family types. Have a look at and campaign in your workplace with our toolkit here!

What about the merits of a basic income? Don Paskini blogs that Namibia has introduced this whereby every citizen gets 100 dollars per month without being means-tested. This is paid for through more progressive taxation on those in poverty and higher taxes for those well off. I'm keen to find out more about this and will blog about basic income soon.

Photo by United Workers used under Creative Commons licence.

Do you want to share your experience of being involved in campaigning, your thoughts on an issue that matters to you? Get in touch at


Oh yes it does...oh no it doesn't? Moving away swiftly from pantomine mode, there's a debate going on here about how much background matters to living a good life. There's even a whispered hint of the re-emergence of a discussion about class.

So background has got a lot to do with what assets your family have - the money to give you the private education to get into Oxbridge, the old boys club to get you into the City - the money to get you a financial adviser who gets you off paying any tax and so on...

But not coming from a privileged background shouldn't make you unhappy, as adwilliams134' dad shows so well.

"Life is bloody marvellous. It's not for working yourself to death over or acquiring the petty trappings of wealth. It's for having a good time, a beer and a fag, and a laugh with your mates. Take what you need, spend the rest and don't worry about leaving any to the kids. If they're of any use they'll get there on their own."

Society convinces us that what we consume defines how successful we are, how independent we are, how worthy we are of attention? Because it's what we respond to best. Because deep down, we prefer the conformism of running the rat race like a hamster on a spinning wheel and the standardised consumption of “keeping up with the Jones”. We prefer the quick fixes of consuming, because we fear the freedom to do things for the pleasure of doing them without calculating how we appear to others.

But then again, if we don't have money we have to depend on others, which opens us up to the threat of being dominated or even exploited by those that do. And if that sense of feeling exploited is passed on from generation to generation, people feel a sense of inevitability about their powerless to “get ahead”. Their eyes are wide open to their background and subconsciously so are most of us – programmes like Little Britain or Shameless expresses the dirty little secret that we still see society through the lens of class.

If having a privileged family background gives a lift up, would providing people with greater assets (like the Child Trust Fund), help give less privileged people a lift up too?

Thanks to sleepydisco for the photo provided under the Creative Commons license and to Tom for the link to Richard Murphy's great post.

Do you want to share your experience of being involved in campaigning, your thoughts on an issue that matters to you? Get in touch at