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Young People Turned Up At This General Election - Now's The Time To Keep The Pressure Up

29/06/2017 08:27
Martin Dimitrov via Getty Images

Well no one quite expected that! When I wrote over two months ago that young people had to turn out and vote to make their voice and concerns heard, no-one was predicting anything other than a Theresa May victory.

Fast forward two months and we're now dealing with the realities of a hung parliament and a new electoral map. In 2017, the General Election result divided along lines of age rather than class.

Analysis by the polling company Ipsos MORI suggest that the Conservatives vote amongst working class voters actually went up, whereas middle class voters swung to Labour.

Where the vote seems to have divided is by age. The same analysis suggests that turnout in the 2017 General Election was at a 25 year high and there was a 16% rise in the number of 18-24 year olds who voted. This increase in youth vote overwhelmingly went to Labour.

In towns like Canterbury, which has returned a Conservative MP for the last 100 years, the student vote is said to have been decisive in the shock Labour victory there. And in Sheffield, where Nick Clegg was ousted.

In the aftermath of the shock result, there have been plenty of contributions, particularly from the Conservatives side, on what needs to be done to win over young voters. And that's good news, as they are the party running the government. ConservativeHome, the online bible for Conservative thinking and activists, has been awash with recent articles suggesting the abolition of tuition fees, lowering of the voting age to 16, tax deductible student loans to reserved housing for the under 30s. This shows when you turnout to vote in numbers, politicians start to listen!

But the work is by no means over. An analysis of the election result could just as easily conclude that it was the Conservatives alienating older voters with policies attacking their houses and winter fuel payments that lost them the election. And while Jeremy Corbyn attracted a large youth vote, he still fell well short of being able to form a government.

Plans to end the expensive triple-lock protections on pensions and winter-fuel payments for all pensioners, not matter how wealthy, have already been ditched. Young voters need to continue to make their voice heard through the ballot box if politicians are going to follow through and act on issues that matter to them, such as affordable housing and university fees.

The 2017 election turnout from young voters looks to have been an extremely encouraging step. But there can be no resting on laurels and now's the time to keep the pressure up!

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