Sunday 28th of May 2017

the choice is clear...


For the first time in a quarter of a century, the British electorate has an opportunity to make a clean break with the banker-friendly neoliberal policies which have dominated politics since the era of Margaret Thatcher and which have led to a major redistribution of wealth away from the majority to the super-rich.

Well, we can't say we haven't got a choice.

Labour's manifesto, while still being nowhere as left-wing as the ones the pipe-puffing Harold Wilson won two elections on in 1974, nevertheless returns the party emphatically to the territory it occupied before the grinning faux-progressive Tony Blair came along in the mid-90s and turned Labour into a more socially liberal version of the Tories. There's pledges to renationalize Britain's railways — easily the most expensive in Europe — set up a publicly owned energy supplier and take water in England back into public ownership.

Read our manifesto to find out what a fresh start with a Labour government will look like ↓

— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) May 18, 2017

The rich will pay more tax, zero hours contracts will be outlawed and tuition fees will be scrapped. If it's an exaggeration to call the manifesto socialist, then its certainly social democratic and offers hope of a better future for millions of ordinary Britons who have seen their living standards fall dramatically in recent years. By contrast the Tories have lurched still further to the hard right and their elite-friendly agenda could not be clearer. 

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the turnout gap...

Young people prefer Labour over the Conservatives, according to opinion polls. But the majority don't vote. So if they did, what would happen?

The turnout gap

In the 2015 general election, the gap between old voters and young voters was massive.

Just 43% of 18-24-year-olds went to the polls, compared with 78% of people aged 65 or over, according to Ipsos Mori. (To estimate how many old and young people vote at elections, you have to look at opinion polls). That's a huge gap of 35 percentage points.

There's been a similar gulf for the past 20 years, but it wasn't always like that.

As recently as 1992, the gap was just 12 percentage points. Then, 63% of 18-24-year-olds voted. The old aren't voting more now - but the young are voting far less.

In some ways, the low turnout isn't surprising. Young people are mobile and many are students who live away from home - groups which have among the lowest levels of voter registration, according to the Electoral Commission. They are often voting for the first time, so haven't developed a habit, unlike many older people.

Young people with quite high levels of political engagement also often distrust the established political parties.

But young people face a dilemma. Groups with low turnouts tend to be of less interest to politicians who want to be elected.

"It's a no-brainer. Why spend time chasing non-voters rather than concentrating all your energy and effort on those who do vote," says David Cowling, a political opinion polling specialist at King's College London.