Thursday, March 10, 2011
A Labour Charter For Young People - A Discussion Paper
A document of this form is being presented for discussion at Labour Party Branch level. If its contents are considered to be worthy of further action, it can then be forwarded for consideration at Constituency, District Party and then national level.
The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party and genuinely is the only political party of the people of the United Kingdom. It has a long history of service given to the nation. We are committed to the continued improvement of society, both at home and abroad. In particular as a Party we are dedicated to continue our work to abolish poverty both here and elsewhere. These are not easy tasks, nor are they empty promises. In order to achieve these goals we shall have to confront and control many obstacles. For these tasks we shall remain steadfast in the struggle to reach our objectives.
Whilst we appear as a Party to be in good heart, we should be concerned that our base of support remains too narrow for Labour to win outright victories in the future. What we need is to begin a process of continuous engagement with Youth Organisations and Student Unions, with a view to drawing up a Labour Charter for Young People, to get the youth of the country to join with Labour in a united way to confront the many challenges which lie ahead.
Ensuring the well being of young people today and in the future is no easy task, nor will it be a straightforward task for the Labour Party. The issues to be confronted are central to the tasks facing Labour when it is re-elected. These include, huge housing problems at a time when we are building less houses than at any time since the early 1920s, mass unemployment, an ageing population with a pensions crisis, the problem of climate change and a decline in natural resources and even greater famines in the future. These are all issues which are a major concern for young people.
As things stand, young people are not really included in our political debates, yet all of the issues mentioned above will have a major impact on their futures. Labour has to include young people in its vital discussions on the future of our country and our place in tomorrow's world. Labour needs the energy of our young people, we need their vital spirit of idealism if we are to meet the today's challenges and if we are truly to reform society. Labour cannot achieve what it can, without the support and involvement of the young.
From Ken Curran, Chair Birley Labour Party in Sheffield. Chair Sheffield Branch of the C0operative Party. Please discuss and comment.
My own view on the way forward is for Labour to set up its own Ministry for Youth with the specific remit of preparing policy proposals for the next Labour Government to act upon. Such proposals should be drafted as a result of a wide ranging exercise involving as many Youth Clubs, Student Unions, Youth Workers and Community Groups as possible. Once the work is completed the Party should call a special conference which would consider its report for final approval; with the National Executive of the Party and the Shadow Cabinet holding prior meetings to make their own assessments of the proposals.
The future challenges which lies ahead for our young people are huge. They are confronting a cocktail of challenges which are wider than for any past generation. Labour desperately needs young people with the energy and desire to build a better world. In the recent past politicians have been preoccupied with finding short term solutions to long term problems. The knee-jerk politics of the Blair-Brown era lacked a long term vision of the kind of society we were supposed to be creating. Short term thinking does not produce long term solutions, the nature of the many problems which our young people shall have to tackle in the years ahead requires long term and well thought out solutions. Labour can no longer think in terms of Parliamentary Sessions in order to deal with long term problems. If we believe that the depth and seriousness of our problems will take 5, 10 or 15 years to begin to tackle, then it is better to show this than to camouflage the facts. We have to prepare programmes capable of achieving objectives, and at the same time campaign for that period in order to take the policies forward.
In order to secure the long term support of our young people, Labour shall need to give certain guarantees in return for our Contract with Young People. It is reported that 650,000 young people who should either be at school or in Colleges are instead wandering the streets. Labour needs to offer young people proper jobs, education rights, housing, access to sports activities and events, concessions to cinemas, theatre and travel; all in return for their participation in stimulating civic service activities. The above issues should form part of Labour's Charter for Youth. With the support and involvement of young people, we shall be able to face the future.
LET US FACE THE FUTURE TOGETHER........................... KEN CURRAN