Sitting around the kitchen table this morning with my 19 year old daughter and her 18 year old best friend was a joy. Somehow, what seemed impossible last night, became possible, and Corbyn created some unlikely allies in his inspired election campaigning.
"His Snapchats have been so good" said Amber, who voted yesterday for the first time in her life, saying, "it felt like a real responsibility to make the right decision, and it's hard to understand the choices if people talk down to you. Corbyn didn't, he's been really good at getting his message across to us."
She continued, "he came to Beeston yesterday [where Amber lives] and he was brilliant. People came out to listen to what he had to say in the rain." Not bad for a man she describes as "an old fella who wears a scruffy suit with his shirt hanging out, and has to fight with a plant each time he steps out of his front door; he's credible and I believe what he says."
Along with Rebecca, and many of their friends, they all chose to vote Labour in this election. They grasped the issues, albeit in a rudimentary way, but they're articulating solid reasoning behind their voting choices. They both studied economics at school, and were educated on what Brexit really means. They vehemently believe that the vote to leave was a catastrophic mistake, although Amber was too young to vote last year. This was their first opportunity to have their say, and they took it.
They recounted that the polling booth caught one or two of them by surprise; they felt nervous, bearing a responsibility. One or two expected to see local candidates as well as leader's names on their ballot papers, an easy mistake given the focus we've seen on the presidential style of some of the campaigning. They were glad the party logos were on the ballot paper to help them wayfind through the process; we don't teach "how to vote" in schools yet do we, but perhaps we should.
The best news is that they've engaged, and that is to Corbyn's and the Labour Party's absolute credit, and their greatest triumph. They've engaged a generation of teenagers and early twenty something's who are flexing their political muscles for the first time, and they like how it feels. They want to do it again, and that's the best part of it all.
After a big night out, they've been discussing the election result over a cup of coffee and a slice of toast, exactly as it should be. They feel respected and valued, not patronised and discarded. They made their votes count, and now they're talking politics for the first time in their lives with a passion. Long may it continue.Suggest a correction