When Theresa May announced her plan to hold a snap election, a key factor for all parties may have been how they attained the youth vote. With turnouts for elections in Britain often averaging at around 70%, this is often vastly superior to the turnout for the youth, with 43% of the 18-24 demographic involving themselves in 2015. As such, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn seemed to prioritise targeting this group, and this may have been the catalyst in narrowing the divide between themselves and the Conservatives, showing how a party may reap the benefits of appealing to the masses. Whilst Labour did attain the majority of the votes, it seems most important to highlight how the involvement of the youth themselves in the election may suggest the younger generation may be aiming to impact their future by voting, potentially producing increased economic and political stability.
In the 2015 election the Conservatives won via a majority, with David Cameron, and thereafter Theresa May, possessing the ability to announce policies with often-unwavering support. Upon the announcement of the snap election, the polls suggested the Conservatives may retain this majority, with polls in the following weeks consistently reiterating this suggestion. Yet, the divide between age groups in their voting pattern may have ultimately contributed to the result, as for every 10 years older a voter is, the chances of voting Conservative increase by 8%. Whilst these individuals may support the hard Brexit ideology, the younger demographic, who majorly supported remain, seem to have converse opinions, and thus these younger groups votes seemed pivotal in shaping the results, ultimately counteracting, or supporting, the present Brexit movement.
The majority of young voters seemed to be enticed by Labour, with Corbyn’s slogan, “For the many”, underpinning his overarching quest to provide equal opportunities for all. Whilst the most poignant policy in his manifesto seemed to be his support of the NHS, with his speeches after the events at London and Manchester often utilised to recognise their work, perhaps the focus may be on his plans to make higher education free; with tuition fees ever increasing under the Tory Government, his aim may have signalled increased equal opportunities. In addition, Corbyn himself was endorsed by a vast array of celebrities who, due to boasting a large social networking following, seemed to heavily influence the election themselves; with grime artists Stormzy and JME amongst those publicly voicing their support, Corbyn seems to have highlighted his ability to balance his reiteration of policies with surrounding himself with a group who may assist his quest for number 10, showcasing his vast credentials as leader.
Short-term, young voters provide a more representative outlook of public opinion, which, if continued, may be a long-term benefit, yet may simultaneously lead to students striving for a career in politics, aiming to productively impact the world through their own actions. These students may strive for a career across various parties as, whilst the demographic predominantly voted for Labour, it seemed to also be scattered across various parties, which may in turn motivate the current politicians to achieve as their policies may have been proven successful. In addition, the success of British politicians enticing the youth to vote may lead to other countries aiming to replicate the high standards showcased, suggesting the benefits of voicing opinions, and perhaps leading to an increased level of the population satisfied with their futures.
Whilst naturally the youth’s involvement seemed to act as the catalyst in Labour advancing their position, and gaining seats at the expense of the Conservatives, this in turn may have suggested to Theresa May she may be required to alter her plans for Brexit and the NHS in order to attain the support of these aforementioned voters. Ultimately, their votes, whoever it was attained by, seems to have produced a more representative result, with the influx of young voters suggesting this generation may be becoming steadily more involved in the political world which, in a time where multiple countries seem to be experiencing a nationalistic wave, their opinions may prove dividends in driving Britain down a fresh, innovative path.
How may young voters continue to vocalise their opinions and influence future elections?