With their realistic view of universities, housing and the economy, it is the Conservatives, not Labour, who are the real party of the youngby Charlotte Gill / July 20, 2017 / Leave a comment
Since June’s election, Conservatives have been hounded for their inability to connect with young voters. This, far from reflecting CCHQ’s indifference to millennials, demonstrates a certain hopelessness at Snapchat (and marketing generally). Labour has been far more superior, in this regard, no doubt benefitting from having so many baby-faced members—and therefore a greater pool of savvy individuals to choose from for campaigner manager roles.
Unfortunately for the Conservatives, bad campaigns have convinced the public that the party hates young people; a belief which has only been compounded as Jeremy Corbyn goes around pledging free education to all. Such promises are all too tempting at a time when many are feeling, rightly, fed up of a relentless, miserable economic situation. But millennials must not be fooled by these cheap offers; the truth is that the Conservatives do want to help them out, and have—in fact—produced some of the most realistic, supportive policies around. It’s time it were acknowledged so.
For starters, it should not be forgotten that David Cameron’s government launched the Help to Buy scheme, which has been enormously useful at putting first time buyers on the property ladder. The market is, of course, not perfect—an issue that would affect any party in power, thanks to urban house prices—but this scheme has been an important step towards tackling the issue. Indeed, an analysis by the BBC suggests that, between 2013 and 2016, one in three new build properties were bought outside London using it. In total, government figures from 2016 show that 180,000 first time buyer households were created through Help to Buy.
The Conservatives, too, have done much to enhance the employability of the young. One way in which they have done this is by responding to the job market—which does not demand as many university graduates as Jeremy Corbyn would have everyone believe. Data, in fact, indicates that, while 40 percent of millennials have degrees, 47 percent work in non-graduate jobs. That there are so many younglings in further education is the fault of Tony Blair, who— during his tenure as Prime Minister— had the idea that 50 percent should go to university; a mindset that Corbyn seems to share.
Conservatives have simply been honest about the situation—accepting that the world has changed in its receptiveness towards graduates—and the party has instead turned its focus to practical skills. By 2020, the Conservatives will have invested £2.5bn into apprenticeships, as well as pledging to create three million additional ones. These achievements will not only boost the economy, but the lives of young people, who would do far better to get straight out into the employment market, rather than amassing significant debt.
But by far the most significant way in which the Conservatives have helped young people is by getting a grip on the economy. However much ‘austerity’ millennials complain about now, they should remember – or imagine, if they didn’t experience it – how hideous it was to come out into the job market in 2008, following the global financial crisis and New Labour’s tenure. It was dire; as the UK came out of its severest recession since the 1950s, unemployment peaked to 2.7 million by the end of 2011 (its highest rate for seventeen years). No one should take for granted the stabilised situation we find ourselves in now; unemployment rates have dropped for 16-24-year-olds to 12.5 percent—the lowest it’s been since mid-2005. This is surely the most important statistic for young people to pay attention to.
With Conservatives, these figures can only improve, but a Corbyn government means that business owners will not look so favourably on millennials, thanks to Labour’s madness for corporation tax hikes—and general contempt for the private sector. Far from bringing hope to a generation, Corbyn offers only instability and chaos, probably worse than that which ensued a decade ago. Conservatives may not be able to make the same fantastical promises, or deliver overnight magic – thanks to the mess they’ve had to clean up, but when it comes to young people, they are certainly ‘for the many not the few’.