THE BLOG

All Hail the Ungrateful Youth Voter

12/07/2016 10:49

There is an attitude amongst the older voter (and I'm pegging at 40 and over, but don't be offended by that definition!) that Britain's youth today are ungrateful for all the hard work of the previous generation. There is also a stereotype that Britain's young care more about themselves, about their personal 'brand' and how they can easily slip their way through life without doing a proper day's work. That's probably quite true if you're a 25-year-old social media guru working in Dalston or Shoreditch, but for pretty much everyone else in the UK, it's wholly unfair.

I have seen older voters accused the youth vote of 'not knowing what they were voting for', and simply voting the way they are being told to do, or because they simply want 'more for themselves'. Young people are ungrateful, unwilling to recognise the sacrifice of the previous generation, who now expected to be guided by the wisdom of their elders. Young people aren't trusted with the big decisions, such as the EU or renewal of Trident; or even, possibly, military action in other countries (Iraq anyone?). After the events of the last 20 years and the way Britain suffers with rising inequality and debt lumbered onto the younger generation, I don't blame them for being ungrateful.

Now if you're an older voter; pay attention. I'm glad the young voter is ungrateful. Simply, the working young of Britain has had to shoulder the burden of the demands of the older generation for too long. Whilst young Britons struggle under huge debts, big rents and no savings towards a pension or deposit, older Britons have the triple lock protection on their pensions. They have gold plated public sector pensions which has led to Britain having a pension deficit of nearly £935bn, this deficit being made worse by older voters choosing to take the UK out of the EU which collapsed the value of the pound. Older voters will want renewal of Trident, nothing more than a global status symbol which 'gives us a seat at the top table'. Once again, older voters choose it and young people pay for it. Because I can assure you, older people won't accept a cut to their pensions to fund Brexit or Trident.

The government has long been guilty of focussing on older people, simply because they vote. Turnout among 18-24 year olds has fallen from over 60% in the early 1990s to an average of 40% for the general elections in 2001, 2005 and 2010, making the UK one of the lowest in the European Union.

As a result, one of the biggest surprises to come out in the last week regarding the EU referendum in the UK, was the youth vote. A poll conducted by Opinion has found that turnout was 64% among 18-24 year olds and 65% among 25-39 year olds. That's pretty amazing, seeing a significant improvement by these age groups over the last few elections. What was not surprising however was that people aged under 40 voted strongly towards remain, with 71% of people aged 18-24 voted to remain in the EU, and 62% of 25-39 year old's. This is great new. Following from a 58% turnout for 18 - 24 year old's in 2015's general election, it means we are now seeing young people standing up to the older voter to ensure their voices are heard.

There is a terrible attitude towards young people in Britain. And so I say to those under 40 when wondering if they should vote, the answer is absolutely yes. I am glad you act ungratefully to those older voters. Those older voters who enjoyed low house prices, who gave us Tony Blair and the Iraq War. The older voters who led us to Brexit, despite the costs, and lumber the youth of today with low pay and high rents.

Today's youth aren't perfect, but without them there will be no future for Britain. Instead of weighing them down with our debts, we should be enabling them to build prosperity for the future, for us and for them. We want them here in Britain building this prosperity.

Comments

CONVERSATIONS