“If we are genuinely concerned about engaging young people, particularly those that are vulnerable or at risk, we must listen to them properly.”Libby Brooks
For anyone who hasn’t read my introduction piece I am a support of the Conservative Party, I was raised in an environment surrounded by many of the ideals of the party. Not spending beyond your means, work for everything you have and most importantly that you are your own greatest asset. However within the party I would be considered an odd case, I am young and I am socially liberal, not something which is too common. As a matter of fact I would likely be what would be described as a ‘Blue Dog’ Democrat if I lived within the United States.
Studying elections and voting patterns at university presented a rather alarming case for the Conservative Party which so far has been ignored. The age at which you were equally likely to vote Labour as you were Conservative in the 2017 election was 49 years old and it was a trend that was meaning the meeting age was increasing.
A lot of this will have to do with the aging population that came as a result of the Baby Boomer generation, but if the age is increasing what does that mean for the generations that came after them? Quite simply the Conservative Party is not appealing to younger people, specfically my generation what is being dubbed the ‘post milleanials’.
Why is that? It is likely a great many reasons, more than I can go into. The main reason however is social media, it is the realm of young people today and a realm that was lost to the Left and will take a long time to recover. My generation are being exposed to left leaning views more often than they are the right, the argument goes the more you are exposed and surrounded by something the more likely you are to agree with it.
Young people cannot identify with the values of the Conservative Party, they often have little money and do not truly understand the value of it therefore fiscal policy is going to be largely lost on them unless there is a direct policy aimed towards them, something around student debt or something to assisting with establishing themselves independent from their parents.
This then means you must look at social policy, young people are socially liberal and are at the heart of many radicial and new ideas. The Conservative Party quite naturally with the clue being in the name are not, they prefer the status quo not wanting to risk upsetting it on a whim and a prayer. While the party should remain there to prevent racial change and be the bulwark of the status quo, they must equally embrace change and be seen to do so.
When viewing the House of Commons on television and viewing MPs in their benches, it is very clear which is more diverse and unfortunately it is not the Conservative Party which allows the argument to be made that it is a party that doesn’t look like modern day Britain. Whether or not the argument is a valid one, it is one that cannot be ignored as diversity is something of great importance to the younger generations.
This does not mean that candidates must fit criteria to be allowed to stand as a Conservative, as it is important that local associations choose who they believe is best to stand. All BAME and all women shortlists, while I understand the reasoning behind introducing them, is only creating discrimination. Discrimination of any kind is wrong.
I do not hold the answers to the problems the Conservative Party is facing, I have purposely left out Brexit as that would require a whole post on its own, but what I have pointed out are important issues that the Conservative Party faces and must address if they wish to secure more voters of my generation.
The party must come to understand that not all change is bad and that it must adapt and change or ultimately die out. Perhaps if they party wishes to win the support of younger people they should take Libby Brook’s quote to heart.