The Choose Youth AGM was always going to be fraught. On the one hand the Choose Youth Chair, Doug Nicholls, had declared that backing its Manifesto was critical. On the other, captured in Bernard Davies’s pondering of the process, we had expressed our caution, arguing strongly for an open conference as the prerequisite for finding a collective voice. Both sides and folk in between put forward their differing positions forcefully. The union CYWU/UNITE was critical of what it saw as our prevarication. For our part we were at pains to show that the disagreement was tactical rather than one of principle, about the pace rather than the direction of the journey.
In the end the fact that Choose Youth is not a constituted body and the AGM is a forum of guidance rather than binding decision allowed us all room for manoeuvre. Thus it was agreed to move forward with the Manifesto, its prime target initially being the Labour Party policy process. It is to be distributed to over 600 Labour councillors. A launch of the Manifesto in Parliament is envisaged. Nevertheless it was recognised that the Manifesto itself remains a work in progress. In addition the meeting supported the proposal that Choose Youth organises an open and pluralist conference for the ‘youth sector’, although our desire to see this happen before the end of April was deemed unrealistic. A working group, on which we are represented, was set up to this end.
All in all the AGM ended amicably with a renewed sense of purpose. Looking further ahead a Lobby of Parliament is planned for 2014.
The Manifesto is available at the Choose Youth web site, where you can sign up to it on the ‘support us’ page.
At the moment we can’t download the document direct to the site as the file is too big, but we’ll try to sort this out asap.