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#GE2017: Are Young People Forcing A Shift In British Politics?

11/06/2017 19:14 | Updated 12 June 2017

2017-06-09-1497011815-3468428-PSX_20170609_133452.jpg
Civify Youth Activists in Coventry South - photo owned by author.

After years of anti-intellectualism rhetoric from the British establishment, does this see a shift to a British liberal renaissance forced by young people?

It's fair to say the Conservatives ran a campaign based on a narrative instead of policy, this isn't a new attack mode by the Tories taking into account their 2015 outing of using the SNP to encourage people in England not to vote for The Labour Party.

This technique has worked well for the party with older voters who mostly depend on the media for their source of information, but it's proven the internet has been a game-changer in regards to quantifying information.

Twitter has suggested the majority of under 34's have rejected tabloid interference in elections, these are tools that helped Thatcher to win 3 elections.

This feels like a turning point in British politics.

Young people are now a real force within the electorate and they will have to be taken as serious vote winners, regardless if you are Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, Green or UKIP.

Via Civify, I helped put a cohort of young people across the West Midlands and Staffordshire hold 25 parliamentary candidates accountable via direct video interviews on social media and the radio.

In the aftermath of this snap election, there has been a lot of commentary that Brexit has had a major effect, a rejection of a hard Brexit - which is no surprise considering 75% of young people who did vote to remain in the EU referendum.

But via the #UKelects17 it there was a lot more chatter surrounding what is important to young people and there was a clear suggestion they felt forgotten about by the Government, while encouraging real frustration on the decisions being made by older generations that will affect their lives, not so much their counterparts.

They have noticed their jobs are paid less, they are sick of being called generation rent and they feel spoken down to by other areas of the electorate who feel they know better.

Youth unemployment was also a big conversation point, especially in the West Midlands. The lack of high-quality jobs is a worry for them, young people do not necessarily want to move to London, they want the opportunity to stay in the area and add value to it.

That has been a real backlash from young people and it's forcing the establishment to sit up and take notice.

This suggests a shift back to two party politics, if this is true, all parties need to take into account the needs of young people and create policies that are attractive - if parties consider young people as apathetic and depending on a low turnout, they will be in trouble.

They must consider young people just as important as pensioners when they come to write their manifestos, if they do then I'd consider that a good day at the office.

The country is waking up to what I've known for years, young people are engaged in politics and in my opinion, I've even found them to be more knowledgeable than their older counterparts on most parts with a will to learn.

The UK political sphere needs to learn that, and fast.

Civify is a completely volunteer led movement that looks to encourage more young people to participate in politics, under 25s can create their own campaigns here: www.civify.org.

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