Two and a half, three decades ago, you’d have found me at a retreat for the youth wing of a political party. Or one of their weekend conferences, or university pub nights, or provincial council meetings.

I just have to close my eyes to see the faces of friends, refighting some defeated point of procedure over bottles of beer in a hotel stairwell, or collating agenda packages until the not-so-wee hours of the morning, or darting from table to table on the convention floor to pin down the support we needed for some crucial amendment.

I haven’t kept in touch with most of them. But tonight, particularly tonight, I wish I could be in one of those hotel rooms or conference halls again with them all. Just to remember and honour that sense of shared purpose. To give a thought to those young people in our lives who share that spirit of hope, change and possibility – even (maybe especially) the ones who don’t share our sense of where that spirit should take us.

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