An interesting assortment of people have signed a cliche-ridden letter to the Guardian welcoming the innovatory character of the government’s approach to policy making. Critics of the Positive for Youth policy document are said to be looking through the prism of partisan politics. Well we certainly can’t be accused of favouring a particular political party, but we are committed to a cause, the defence of democratic youth work. If this is being partisan we are guilty as charged. What is stunning is the implication that this motley collection of chief executives and the like from the business and voluntary sectors have no political interests of their own. Their feigned neutrality leads them to make statements upon the policy of embarrassing shallowness. We pass no judgement on its final contents, which will be debated in other arenas. Critical discussion is evidently irrelevant to a group, who signed up to the government’s ideological agenda long ago. Not that they are partisan, of course.
We copy the letter in its entirety below. And in doing so, we ponder, why did they feel the need to even put pen to paper in this way? To whom do they think they are speaking ?
Be Positive about our Young People
Young people are an inspiration. We need to challenge negative perceptions of young people, celebrate their achievements and give them support and opportunity (Fighting for young people who seem all out of chances, 17 December). It should be the responsibility of national and local government, business and the voluntary sector to work together to ensure that the energy and enterprise of young people can be fulfilled.
We hope the government’s Positive for Youth policy document can mark the start of a concerted and collective effort to support young people in practical and sustainable ways. We know that young people are ready to respond positively to such support. It is inevitable that Positive for Youth will be viewed by some through the prism of partisan politics. We pass no judgment on its final contents, which will debated in other arenas. However, we are encouraged that, throughout the planning and drafting process for Positive for Youth, views were actively sought by the government from business, the voluntary sector and, most importantly, young people themselves. This commitment to partnership is an innovation in policymaking for which the government should be given credit. We hope it will continue to be the hallmark of its youth policy development and implementation, because we all have a stake in the future of our young people.
Ronan Dunne Chief executive officer, Telefonica UK Ltd
Peter Marks Group chief executive, Co-op
Robert Elliott Senior partner, Linklaters LLP
David Micciche Director, John Laing
Kris Engskov UK and Ireland managing director, Starbucks
Paul Buchanan Director, Business in the Community
Caroline Diehl Chief executive, Media Trust
Fiona Blacke Chief executive, National Youth Agency
Derek Twine Chief executive, Scout Association
Charlotte Hill Chief executive officer, UK Youth
David Wright Chief executive, Confederation of Heads of Young People’s Services
Seyi Obakin Chief executive Officer, Centrepoint
Barbara Hearn Deputy chief executive, National Children’s Bureau
John Dunford Chair, Worldwide Volunteering
Helen Marshall Chief executive officer, Clubs for Young People
Tony Hawkhead Chief executive, Groundwork UK
Barbara Rayment Director, Youth Access
Nick Wilkie Chief executive, London Youth
Chris Wright Chief executive, Catch22
Jennie Butterworth Chief executive, Envision
Gary Buxton Chief executive, Young Advisers
Paul Birch Company secretary, Enterprise plc