The youth vote is up for grabs – the Tories can take advantage

Labour failed my generation and the Lib Dems broke a cast iron promise – why would we ever support them again, asks Jago Pearson

JagoPeople my age love to dream of a Utopian paradise, a land where everything’s free, everyone’s happy and where we all live in peace and harmony.

The young have always been known to be Leftist ideologues, the Tories enemies at birth.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Not in the UK. Not now. Not after Labour comprehensively failed my generation.

The last government left youth unemployment at one million, made a tuition fee increase inevitable by trying to send 50 percent of school leavers to university and fostered a something for nothing culture that left thousands stranded without prospects or purpose.

Not all people are academic. It doesn’t make them better or worse, just different. So why did Labour want so many to do degrees? Individuals must choose the path that’s right for them.

Why also did Labour think it acceptable for large portions of the population to rest on their laurels and leach off the benefit system? Too many youths have been trapped in a vicious cycle of underemployment.

My generation will be working longer. We will also, if gloom and doom predictions are correct, be poorer than our parents.

It is in this context that the Conservatives can win ground amongst a section of the electorate that, until now, has been monopolized by the Left and Liberal wing of British politics.

But to do so, especially in the face of the educational bias that I wrote about two weeks ago in the Telegraph, the Tories must understand and appreciate the young’s very unique outlook on life. The party must make the moral case for Conservatism.

Pragmatic, Centre-right policies can deliver the harmonious and compassionate society the majority of my generation so crave. For example, by making tough decisions on welfare, decisions of the type usually deemed to be abhorrent by youthful idealists, the young can be dragged out of the current quagmire we currently find ourselves in.

Make work pay and reap the rewards.  It’s an argument that must continue to be made with clarity and conviction. It’s an argument that can trump, even for the young, the Owen Jones ‘bedroom tax’ dogma.

It’s an argument that, according to an Ipsos Mori poll last year, could just be breaking through.

I’m 21 and and I’m not the norm. Not only will I actually turn out to vote at the next election, I will cast my ballot for the Conservatives.

It would be silly to suggest that the Under-25s will have a decisive say in the next election, mainly for the very reason few will engage in the political process. But it is important the Conservatives negate any advantage Labour might gain by clearing up those who would have otherwise backed the Liberal Democrats.

For those that do turn out, some polls have suggested as many as 30 percent could vote for Cameron. I’m not convinced it’s that clear cut.

These numbers are surely more a reflection on Miliband’s own failures and the Liberal Democrat’s broken tuition fees promise, than they are on the Tories’ genuine popularity with the young.

But by giving my contemporaries the opportunity to get a foot on the housing ladder, by putting an end to the ‘university or bust’ approach to education and by making sure that entry-level work pays, a significant proportion of my generation can be won over.

People my age need to wake up. Because more Labour induced spending, borrowing and debt will leave us even poorer when we reach middle age.

Maybe, just maybe, they will realise. Osborne’s economically dubious but politically astute minimum wage pledge could prove to be just the carrot they need to switch allegiances.

Even better, it might persuade them to actually vote blue.

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Jago Pearson

Senior Account Executive at Media Intelligence Partners
Jago works on a variety of campaigning and corporate briefs and heads up MIP's new media services.

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