The media portrayal of Birmingham’s youth population belies a thriving Conservative movement, says David Kuczora. 

The adage goes that if you’re young and not Labour you have no heart; if you’re old and not Conservative you have no brain.

At the age of 32, I can just about get away with still classifying myself as young.

But the youth factor in this General Election is important – if you look beyond what’s trending.

On Tuesday, Jeremy Corbyn staged a rally in Birmingham’s Eastside. It’s known as the education district of the city. Indeed, Birmingham City University has been relocating its most prestigious faculties – Birmingham Conservatoire, the business school and the school of media – to this very location.

Eastside is also to become the gateway for HS2 in Birmingham. The listed Curzon Street station still stands, as part of a mile-long masterplan of travel regeneration.

So where better for Corbyn to hold his rally for the youth of Birmingham? Especially as he’s promising to wipe out tuition fees.

The event was packed to the rafters, with entertainment by Clean Bandit and Steve Coogan. Frosty Jack’s cider and Glen’s vodka abounded amongst the crowd. And there’s no disputing the numbers – people turned up in their hundreds.

But while the stage-lights and celeb glamour makes for great coverage, it doesn’t necessarily typify the youth of Birmingham.

A copper mate of mine commented: “We watched Diane Abbott’s car-crash interview on Sky News in the office. I’m sure she’s lovely, but she should be pitching to run a Scout Group – not our national security.”

It’s a sentiment reflected by other quiet and modest young people in Birmingham; the types who don’t go to rallies or espouse political beliefs on Twitter or Facebook.

They’re the kids who serve you your flat-white in the morning, work as security staff in shopping centres and pull your pint after work. They’re going to vote Conservative. They just aren’t at all interested in the online bubble of political discourse.

This inevitably means the braggards and blowhards online have a smug self-confidence about what they think they know. But they shouldn’t be so certain, because the quiet young lads and lasses who don’t conduct their lives in a perpetual social media frenzy are the people who will be voting Conservative tomorrow.

They’ll tell you if you ask politely. They just don’t shout it loudly.

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