Last Thursday’s General Election saw a big increase in the numbers of younger people voting. And in some constituencies, they had a big influence on who was elected, with the city of Canterbury, which has a significant student population, going Labour for the first time ever. In Newcastle-under-Lyme, after many student voters were first turned away from polling stations, the electoral register was updated during the day, so they could vote. Labour’s Paul Farrelly was re-elected with a majority of just 30.
Yes, the young have become more politically active. And now that they have seen what a difference their activism - and turning out to vote - can make, more young people are likely to become politically active, and turn out to vote, next time a General Election comes round. So the Murdoch goons at the Sun have decided to engage with them.
The problem for the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker is that their chosen strategy is one of patronising, talking down to younger voters and telling them sternly that they - not those doing the lecturing - don’t get it. To this end, the Sun has run a rant by Clare Foges, whose claim to fame is that she used to write speeches for Young Dave.
Ms Foges puts the youth of Britain straight, right from the off: “After ‘choosing hope over fear’, naive young voters must have a harsh lesson in political reality”. She then slips in a blatant whopper: “Recent years have involved increasing youth worship in politics”. No, Clare, that’s the whole problem - there has been an assumption that the young won’t turn out to vote, and so they have been ignored. Especially by the Tories.
Then it’s on with the sneering dismissal. “Come election time, TV producers fall over themselves to put together panels of young people to offer up vacuities about ‘choosing hope over fear’ and other quotes they may have spotted on Instagram … Grey-beard presenters nod deferentially at every complaint made by the youthful contributors, however inane or ill-informed (the passion of youth requires no substantiation)”.
And yet more sneering: “since Thursday, people have been falling over themselves to congratulate the younger among us for doing their democratic duty; a five-minute detour to the polling station given the same weight as going over the top at Ypres … Young people posted selfies taken after the event and wore stickers saying ‘I voted!’ Should they get lollipops, too?” Way to alienate the youth vote even more.
There was time to include Jeremy Corbyn in the sneeriest: “They turned out in their droves for a man who became a kind of millennials’ prophet … They voted for a man who would have endangered our economy, the whisper of whose name can send the Pound on a swan-dive. There is no wisdom here, no great lesson to be learnt, just the insight that many young people rather like being offered free stuff”.
But enough. The Sun - along with other newspapers - is facing falling sales, dwindling ad revenues, and declining influence, so what does it do? Pisses off its only source of salvation, just because the hacks and pundits have had their orders from the thirteenth floor. The Murdoch press is begging the young to make it even less relevant.
Let’s hope the young make that wish come true. Bye bye Murdoch goons.