My previous article mentioned that there are few things that are as important in life as voting, and that I was incredibly encouraged that June’s General Election turnout in the 18 to 24 age group was 72 per cent.
I also said that whoever young people decide to vote for, it is up to us as politicians to persuade them of the arguments that we believe in.
This will be no easy task, given recent events, but the political history of the last century shows a pattern of Labour governments elected, after several years of successful Conservative administrations, who promised to spend vast amounts of money – effectively bribing folks with their own money. Once elected, they then proceeded to spend more money than they were able to confiscate through taxation, leading the country towards bankruptcy. Even the relatively moderate Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown left us unprepared when the financial crash of 2008 threw a rather large spanner into the works and meant that they had to borrow one pound out of every four they spent.
Our challenge now is to show young people that the path of socialism is wrong before they ‘give it a go’. Indeed, many young people I meet, often in my ward work in Hangleton and Knoll, have broad libertarian tendencies, and would find a natural place in the modern Conservative Party, but are told that Conservatives are against young people. Well, it wasn’t the Conservatives who indicated during the election that student debt would be ‘forgiven’, only to renege on that soon after.
It is also not that older people are wiser than young people, and therefore vote for the Conservatives in greater numbers. It is just that they have experienced the pain of past failed Labour governments and have decided that they do not want to tread that weary path again.
This message of stark economics is the one that we must get out there. It is a message that many in the Labour Party understand and agree with, but are willing to turn a blind eye to while the ‘Cult of Corbyn’ continues to carry them high in the polls.
Tony Janio is the leader of the Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council.