After the election, YouGov conducted a poll and found that barely 20% of people aged 18-24 voted Conservative, compared to over 60% of people who voted for Labour. Most young people think the Tories have little to offer young people except austerity and student debt.
Rather than having the wrong policies and ideological stance, it is the tone of the delivery which hinders the party’s prospects with young people. High spending and a large budget deficit will mean that young people more than any other age group will have to foot the bill in taxes to repay public debt in the future.
A figure that I am amazed is never discussed is the £43bn we spend on servicing our national debt every year. This is more than the entire schools budget or the wage bill for the NHS. More borrowing and more debt means this figure will inevitably increase. That’s less money for us in the future to spend on public services, which may mean more tax for me and you later on in life.
To win young people back, we therefore need to improve the style of our message, not its substance
Sadly this argument was largely devoid from the recent election. Austerity was seen by young people as the mean old Tories taking money away from the poor, showing that the ‘nasty party’ moniker was alive and well.
To win young people back, we therefore need to improve the style of our message, not its substance. Instead of announcing inflammatory measures such as a free vote on repealing the hunting act, the Tories need to focus on showing that they are a responsible and caring party of government, not nostalgic reactionists. Perhaps then we will start to win back the masses of young people who have no time for the Tory party.
Ask any of my friends and their answer as to which political party I support would simply be ‘not the Conservatives’. I’m not necessarily a diehard pro-Labour supporter, rather so strongly against the Tories that I choose to champion the party with most chance of defeating them. And I’m not alone.
Conservatives are becoming less and less popular among young people as Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity rises. This isn’t down to the charisma and perceived teenage adoration of Jezza, rather how little the Conservatives actually do for young people. Conservatives know that their core support comes from older generations, so their policies lean towards helping them.
When was the last time that they proposed a policy which would actually benefit younger generations? Not only this, but younger people – especially those who are or have studied in further education – will always hold a grudge about the hiking of tuition fees; tripling fees within a year is no laughing matter.
Perhaps less time should be spent debating fox hunting and more time spent on matters that will directly impact young people
Until the Conservatives actually begin to project the feeling of a party who value, champion or even acknowledge the existence of hard working young people, they will remain unpopular with young voters. Perhaps less time should be spent debating issues like fox hunting and more time spent on matters that will directly impact young people today. I for one will not be a Tory supporter for the foreseeable future, save something drastically changing.
The Conservatives are not a party for the young. They never have been, and they never will be. There are a plethora of reasons to support this assertion, but the most fundamental is that in the majority of societies the young are more progressive and the older lean towards the right.
Conservatism, austerity, and small government directly attack the ideals of many liberal young people in Britain today. A university like Warwick is an excellent demonstration of this fact – as the mention of voting for the Tories in the previous election was enough to have you branded as racist or bigot.
However, to me it’s almost comical that the Tories never really seemed particularly exercised about winning over the young until we actually started voting. Now they need to work all the harder to sway us.
The Conservatives must pray that come next election, whenever it may be, the young are apathetic as normal
Yet, this election has proven that Corbyn (however, controversial and potentially useless he may be) has the charisma to convince an apathetic youth to vote. So unless Theresa May can emulate this overnight, the Conservatives have little hope of securing the young vote and instead must pray that come next election, whenever it may be, the young are apathetic as normal and do not turn up at their polling stations.
The main reason for the unpopularity of the Tories among young people is their disregard for our wellbeing, a particularly stark example of this being the abolition of housing benefit for 18-21 year olds. Conservative policy on young people seems to be predicated upon the assumption that we all have families who are both willing and able to support us as adults.
We don’t. The eradication of housing benefit seems particularly spiteful when you consider that young people are the age group most likely to be unemployed.
The Tories have sent out the message that young people are worth less
Those of us who’ve made it to university have been rewarded with eye-watering debts (a concern ignored by the Tory snap election manifesto), as well as the prospect of having to work for free to get a foot in the door after we graduate.
While Labour have vowed to outlaw unpaid internships, the Conservatives blocked an attempt to ban them last year. Through actions like these, the Tories have sent out the message that young people are worth less, and as a result many of us find little reason to trust them.