British Youth Council

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The British Youth Council is part of Mezzanine2.

According to Robin Ramsay:

by the end of his final year at Oxford University, in 1976, Mandelson had become Chair of British Youth Council. The British Youth Council began as the British section of the World Assembly of Youth, which was set up and financed by MI6 and then taken over by the CIA in the 1950s, created to combat the Soviet Union's youth fronts. By Mandelson's time in the mid1970s under a Labour government be it noted the British Youth Council was said to be financed by the Foreign Office, though that may be a euphemism for MI6, the British secret intelligence service.
In 1977 Mandelson and one Charles Clarke, another familiar name, then head of the British National Union of Students, put together a delegation from the UK to attend the 1978 World Festival of Youth. The World Festival of Youth meetings were great cold war jamborees at which the opposing blocs put forward propaganda at the Third World. Charles Clarke, head of the NUS in 1977, and chosen to fly the flag for Britain in Cuba, became Neil Kinnock's chief gatekeeper.
Peter Mandelson, we were told in 1995 by Donald McIntyre in the Independent, is 'a pillar of the two bluechip foreign affairs thinktanks, Ditchley Park and Chatham House'. [1]


The British Youth council was funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In 1994 its grant was stopped and in 1999 the BYC wrote to the FCO to reinstate it:

A significant area of BYC's work since its creation in 1948 by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has been representing the UK internationally on youth issues and building relations with other national youth councils in the spirit of co-operation and understanding. To undertake this huge and increasingly important area of work BYC received a small annual grant from the FCO.
Unfortunately the previous Government withdrew our international funding in 1994, which decimated our ability to participate in international youth fora, exchanges, training and lobbying. This not only wiped out BYC's international expertise as the first youth led national youth council, but also severely damaged the UK's reputation internationally by preventing the UK from being represented at European, Commonwealth and United Nations Youth Assemblies.
We are very keen to turn this situation around and are looking to the Foreign Office to reinstate funding for our international work. Our previous grant was £42,000 per year, and enabled us to achieve enormous results.
I am aware of the enormous assistance you have given the British Youth Council in the past, and would be very grateful if you felt able to assist us in this matter. Perhaps you could advise on how we could best go about securing Foreign Office support?[2]


PR and Lobbying agencies


  1. ^ The influence of intelligence services on the British left A talk given by Robin Ramsay to Labour Party branches in late 1996, Lobster.
  2. ^ Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence, APPENDIX 6 Memorandum submitted by the British Youth Council