The Young Turn Out, The Commentators Turn On Them
General Election 2017: What just happened?
No one saw that coming. Well, Yougov saw it coming, but the commentators were completely unwilling to take them seriously. There was no way Theresa May wasn’t winning, most likely with an increased majority, and the much touted Hard Brexit would be on.
It didn’t happen. The exit pole predicted a hung parliament, and still nobody believed it. But as the morning of the 9th of June drew towards daylight it became increasingly clear that Theresa May had made one of the worst decisions in modern British politics. She had lost her majority and she had lost the British public. She asked for a mandate, they refused to give it to her.
We could talk for days about the reasons why. I’ve written before about just what a terrible campaign Theresa May and her now ousted advisors put together. Uninspired, inaccurate and with a manifesto that looked thrown together, a document so reviled by the voters that one of the authors, Ben Gummer, was victim to a 9% swing, losing his seat in Ipswich. May lost every single marginal seat she visited. The voters openly rejected the Hard Brexit she wanted, and she ended up looking incredibly weak.
Jeremy Corbyn also offered a genuine alternative. It was no wonder we returned to the 2 party system in most areas. Instead of both parties putting forward virtually the same thing, The Conservatives pulled to the right and Labour pulled to the left. It should be seen as vindication for Corbyn, whom most commentators have conveniently forgotten they predicted would be massacred in this election. They put forward progressive, hopeful ideas and the public responded. And a huge chunk of Labour’s support came from the oft-missing 18-24 demographic.
That’s right, the young people turned out. 71% of them, which was higher than average, and they went overwhelmingly for Labour. Commentators from both sides have been trying to figure out why in the most patronising way possible.
It was the Jezza memes, the funny little photos that swung it. No, it was the tuition fees. The selfish tykes just wanted free tuition. Forget that the majority of the demographic are already studying if they want to, or have already finished, and the policy would not effect the crippling debt they’ve already taken on. They’re selfish, they definitely don’t want to just help out the next load of kids. They were duped. Manipulated by the evil terrorist sympathiser. Because young people definitely can’t think for themselves. Actually, this was revenge for Brexit, as young people couldn’t stand old people dictating their future.
The people who voted aged 18-24 were between 2 and 8 when September 11th happened. They have known a world of almost perpetual war, constant fear of terrorism, a catastrophic financial crash and 7 years of crushing austerity. They have seen education standards plummet, the start of the NHS sell-off and national debt being kicked further and further down the road. They have seen the generations above them do nothing to stop climate change, and you wonder why the voted for hope?
But, yeah. It was probably the Memes. Political commentators got it wrong, again. Instead of investigating why they were so out of touch, they make rash judgments on a generation they’ve called lazy, entitled and politically disengaged. Well, political class of the UK; your writing is lazy, your attitude is entitled and your commentary has been politically disengaged for a while now. Leave those kids alone.