February 6, 2015

Big ideas are the key to the youth vote

A bold policy agenda is needed to engage young people in politics, writes Ben Rochelle. 

With fewer than 90 days to go until the General Election, there are rising concerns over the lack of youth engagement with politics.

At the 1970 election, 65 per cent of 18-24 year olds turned out to vote, compared to 77 per cent of over 65s. Not a huge gap. But by 2005 just 38 per cent of 18-24 year olds voted, compared to 75 per cent of over 65s. The old were twice as likely to vote as the young.

And so various ideas continue to be churned out about how to get young people to vote.

Facebook is going to prompt all its users to register to vote. Bite the Ballot, a campaign group, is encouraging its young members to do the same.

John Bercow, the House of Commons Speaker, believes that young people should be able to cast their votes online. Meanwhile the Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee has launched a report on significant reforms to the voting system. One of the key recommendations is introducing compulsory voting.

Earlier this week Kate Crowhurst suggested in The Telegraph that investment needs to be made in political education in schools in order to rekindle democratic engagement. She claims that a politics education curriculum would equip young people with a “grounding in political theory, the knowledge to dissect the views put forward by their representatives and the ability to debate with them on best practice.”

There is no doubt that a political education would indeed do these things. But is this necessary in order to take an interest in politics and vote?

The heart of the problem is that young people don’t know what they’re voting for.

In times gone by there were clear ideologies and principles to distinguish between: Left and Right, socialism and capitalism. True, Labour has been pulled further Left under Miliband. There is more to separate Labour and the Tories now than during the Blair years. But even still most political debate between the main parties centres on mildly differing views on how the deficit should be addressed or what the precise cap on immigration should be. Rarely does debate go beyond this. The limits of debate are so often very narrow.

We saw this with the debate on Scottish independence. Rather than tackle fundamental questions on the future of the union or what it means to be British so much of the debate seemed to spin on whether Scots would be a few hundred pounds better off or worse off in an independent Scotland.

We need bigger ideas in order to stir the passions and feelings of young people. We need leaders who rather than pander to the interests of young people, only talking about policies that are most relevant to them (tuition fees for example), offer big visions and give young people real choices.

Until our politics is injected with this young people will remain on the outside. And will see little reason to look in.

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  • Shadow Warrior

    Hammond is continuity Brown. He is a hand-wringing lefty looking for clever wheezes to raise more tax in ways that people don’t immediately notice.

  • captainslugwash

    I predict the Budget will attempt to show the Left how caring the Tories are, and it will be funded by screwing over the working man.
    If Corp Tax comes down, I bet Divi tax will be going up.
    I would love to be wrong.

  • skynine

    We really need to look at tax credits, in particular in work tax credits that encourage people to work part time to preserve the benefits. 45% of women work part time and I would hazard a guess that tax credits are the main cause. This leads to low pay, low skill work in supermarkets and the retail sector including coffee shops. The government needs to get back to the employer paying people to do a job for economic reasons rather than to get onto the tax credit ladder. Like all government benefits it distorts the market and diverts government expenditure into non productive areas.
    The refrain that the government has cut expenditure is not true, it increases every year as more and more goes into welfare.

  • MrVeryAngry

    fat chance

  • MrSauce

    So, when wouldn’t we want a ‘budget for growth’?

  • Rob

    I note that the UK Government has just slapped on a 25% tax charge for anyone moving abroad and wishing to move out their private pension from the UK.

  • SonofBoudica

    The Remoaners will do their utmost to sabotage the Government’s negotiating position. They do not want a successful outcome; they want a failure. They want to be able to scream “Told you so!” from the rooftops.

  • EnglandLaments

    Thank goodness for Andrew Neil, the one media hack who scares the pants off the established politicians. He was spot on with Heidi Allen!

  • joshuafalken

    I had a very long, hard, studied and considered look at the hope, care and aspirations of all Europeans, before I voted to get the UK out of the toxic grasp of Brussels.

    The European Union and it’s charge of “ever closer union” has borrowed and spent its way to oblivion, whilst enslaving the working and middle classes in debt.

    The central control mantra of the unaccountable Brussels ruling elite, delivered through a mixture of socialism, globalism and corporatism is entirely responsible for the populist revolt by the millions of “Just About Managings” across Europe.

    We must remember the ultimate goal of socialists, globalists and corporatists is control, not prosperity. see https://mises.org/blog/goal-socialists-socialism-—-not-prosperity.

    Social equality and economic growth always fail under central control and fighting against the Brussels doctrine on behalf of all Europeans is why I voted for Brexit.

    Britain has a long history of helping Europeans depose tyrants and Brussels is just the latest incarnation.

    Britain is the most racially advanced and accepting society on the planet. We welcome those in need and those that can help us with open arms and a smile; that will not change.

    We are also one of the most innovative, talented and open societies in the world, which why everyone wants to live here. However, we cannot fit everyone in, so we have to have clear, balanced and fair immigration policy which is where the arguments start between the monetarists and humanists will never be reconciled.

    I thought long and hard before coming to the conclusion that leaving the EU was in the best interest of all Europeans, as Brussels is toxic and cannot be reformed from within.

    Also, I find it insulting that people who voted Remain have insufficient faith in British ingenuity, compassion and skill to get a good deal for us and see the Europe that we love get a better deal from Brussels and the reform that European people deserve. https://mishtalk.com/2017/03/29/bad-brexit-deal-better-than-no-deal-mathematical-idiocy-odds-of-no-deal/ and https://www.worldheadlines.info/2017/03/after-brexit-9-reasons-to-be-bullish-on-great-britain/

    The politics of left verses right are dead because neither have delivered the promised economic growth and social mobility for anyone, but themselves. The populists are not selfish per-se, they just want to take back control of their own destiny that left/right politicians have freely given away and/or exploited for their own ends. In my constituency, the local residents group are taking over the councils as politicians ignore voters, so Westminster should beware of the well-organised, local resident independents at the next election. This is a peoples revolution which should be shouted from the rooftops, but liberals remained deafened by the socialist, globalist and corporatist “vested interests” that have spectacularly failed us and are obediently crying foul and fake.

    There will be an initial unpalatable inflationary cost to fighting globalism and rolling back central control that few appear to have factored in, but dismantling failed left/right vested interests should eventually free libertarian socially-conservative capitalism from the shackles of TBTF corporatism to feed economic growth and social mobility.

  • agdpa

    The EU usually makes the wrong decision – on immigration, on freedom of movement, on the euro, on the Ukraine, etc. etc. Little hope it will get Brexit right.

  • brownowl

    Eh? Reference please!

  • Neil2

    Sod caring. Screw the spongers and breeders. Kill HS2. Stop all “green” subsidies. Slash “foreign aid” and walk away from the EUSSR with immediate effect.

  • Rob
  • John C

    What a confused article. It conflates surveillance by the security services with poor defences against fraud.

  • John C

    Err, it’s the UK that’s leaving the EU, not vice versa.

  • John C

    Me, now. ‘Growth’ is a manic obsession.

  • La Face Nord

    Mr Redwood – are you aware of the Biased BBC website? It’s been exposing their agenda for a long time, but I imagine you’ve been well aware of the BBC’s agenda for quite some time…

  • Contact Rvtech

    The post is great

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