Archive for August 4th, 2011

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Political youth wings – Ukraine

August 4, 2011

Now then dear readers. What do we think about political youth wings to political parties?

A good idea? – They are nothing new after all. Are they only a bad idea when the political ideology behind them is somewhat radical/extreme such as the Hitler Youth or the Communist equivalent? Nobody has concerns over the young Tories, Libs or Labour in the UK. They would probably have concerns over the EDL or BNP having an active youth wing though.

In a democracy, if a centralist party (left or right) has a youth wing, then of course the margins of extreme left and right should also be allowed to have them as long as they all, left, centre and right, remain law abiding.

Is the problem that most adults would, justifiably or not, worry that the extreme fringes of politics combined with the exuberance and impulsiveness associated with youth, will lead them into actions that would be somewhat less than circumspect and transgress the rule of law?

Why do we have less concerns over the impressionable youth when it comes to mainstream/major party indoctrination over those that we consider more radical? The average person can lay open any manifesto from any party in the UK, including those who are definitely right and definitely left, and find something in each any every manifesto they fully, mostly or partly agree with, even if it is a single policy amongst many.

It then becomes a matter of personal priority as to whether it is enough for you to vote for the party with the policy that ignites your political self or whether you vote for the party that you partly agree with on most issues.

Anyway, Arseniy Yatseniuk’s party, Front for Change (Front Zmin or Фронт Змін) has set up a youth wing.  Now Yatseniuk is certainly not a radical politician.  He is fairly central in his ideology and is not a natural fit with the current administration or Tymoshenko’s opposition party.  Hence he and his party did not join the ruling coalition or unite with Tymoshenko in opposition but has remained independently in opposition.

Yatseniuk and his party consistently poll 3rd or 4th in Ukrainian elections at any level, however still being in his late 30’s and having held numerous very senior and influential positions within the Tymoshenko government era (when she  was scrabbling about to form a majority in the RADA regardless of ideology) he will remain a political force for the next 20 year and more in Ukraine, long after Yanukovych and Tymoshenko are political memories.

According to Interfax-Ukraine  – The Front Zmin has set up a youth wing, according to head of the party’s branch in Dnipropetrovsk region Andriy Pavelko, who became the coordinator of the youth wing.

“Our party was built by young people. Many of members of parliament of the Front Zmin are under thirty. Other political forces are merely using the youth in solving their electoral problems. We do not impose our ideas, but work on the same level as young people, they develop their action programs by themselves,” he said during a press conference following the first forum of the Front Zmin’s young leaders, which was attended by 60 representatives from across Ukraine.

The forum participants shared their experience, attended courses under the project “School of Authorities” organized by the Front Zmin and the Institute of Political Education, in order to enable the young leaders to develop an action program of the party’s youth wing and learn about the ways to implement their projects locally and nationwide.

All very good and many of these youths would no doubt qualify under the British Council’s/FCO “cultural leadership” programme in Ukraine which I blogged about here only a few days ago.  (In case you are wondering,  here is who and what the Institute of Political Education is within Ukraine.)

Yes, those of you who are adamantly against the creation of career politicians who go from theory and seats of learning directly into politics until retirement will undoubtedly cringe at yet another organisation which appears to sidetrack life experience as most of the working electorate know it.

The old argument of idealism verses realism and practical delivery without ever enduring the grind the majority of a working society are subjected to.  At least that is a position a large part of the society would espouse.  (As seen by Mr Cameron’s “We’re all in this together” message being roundly refuted by large parts of the British society).

It would have been very interesting to see how the Front for Change youth were advised regarding the “patronage” issue I touched upon yesterday, particularly as Mr Yatesniuk himself was a multi-millionaire in his 20’s at a time when that simply would not happen (and still won’t happen today for the most part) without a patron in Ukraine.

So, political youth movements?  A good idea or not?  I tend to think they are…..although there are caveats to that conclusion.

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