It seems that capturing the attention of the youth demographic within politics, is becoming a topic of increasing importance. A topic, that appears to be gravely worrying the Conservative Party.
Firstly, I want to make it clear that I am not aiming for this article to take the shape of a critique of the Conservative party, in terms of policy. Instead, a reflection on the communication with the youth generation within politics. Evidently the Tories have an affirmed community of voters, evidenced in the 2017 election. However, as David Cameron, some what bluntly, discussed: "Older Conservative voters are dying. And younger, more 'open' voters are not going to decide when they hit 50 that feminism and the internet and the green movement are a bad thing after all. Unless the party responds it is going to die."
A rather morbid delivery from Mr Cameron there, however it can not be denied that Jeremy Corbyn has ignited a, previously burnt out, connection between young voters and politicians. Corbyn successfully does this for the first time, since Tony Blair attempted to represent "Cool Britannia", embracing the rich pop culture prominent during his campaign, and time in government. The image of Noel Gallagher drinking champagne and socialising with the ex-Prime Minister in number ten, being symbolic of that time.
Undoubtedly, of recent, similarities can be drawn from the 'Cool Britannia' era, as celebrity endorsement for Corbyn was potent within the campaign. Russell Brand and Lilly Allen among those who publicly championed the Labour leader. Aside from the realm of celebrity, I personally have experienced the bizarre moment that 'The Jeremy Corbyn Song' was played in a Nottingham night club, to be met with utter delight from University students. Admittedly, the glee shown by students may have been slightly alcohol induced, nevertheless, Corbyn's popularity within the 18-29 demographic can not be denied. The BBC article linked below, reports that 64% of young voters are choosing to vote for Labour, whilst the Tories are said to be entering "Panic Mode" over their inferior support from young voters.
Of course this could be down to the differing party policies. It is important that the motivations of a young voters are not undervalued, by being entirely attributed to simply good marketing from Labour. However, Labour's communication with the youth demographic is substantially more powerful. Whether this be through speeches on the Glastonbury stage, or online videos and campaigns facilitated by Momentum group, a support network work consisting of 150 local groups and 23,000 paying members. Whatever the contributors are, the fact remains that Corbyn's appeal to the 18-29 age group is impressive.
I am extremely intrigued to see how the Tory party aim to target young voters, as Corbyn has claimed the monopoly, and succeeded in winning the support, of the majority, of young voters. His somewhat anti-establishment, endearing, quirky nature, along with some largely left leaning policies, and a thriving social media presence, is going to make it extremely difficult for the Conservative party to try and enter the periphery of young voters.
Just two years ago, the split in support between Labour and the Conservatives among 18 to 29-year-olds was fairly even, 36% to 32%. Fast forward to this June's general election and that small gap had become a chasm - according to pollsters YouGov - with Labour now on 64% to the Tories' 21%. Addressing worried-looking party figures at the Big Tent Ideas festival in Berkshire, Lord Cooper - one-time director of strategy for ex-Prime Minister David Cameron - puts it starkly. Older Conservative voters, he says, are dying. And younger, more "open" voters are not going to decide when they hit 50 that "feminism and the internet and the green movement are a bad thing after all". Unless the party responds, he adds, "it is going to die". So what should they do?