Traditionally branded by the political establishment as apathetic, lazy and idealistic, yesterday young people delivered a momentous blow to the political establishment. And based on the reaction so far this morning from candidates and pundits alike, the political establishment didn’t quite expect it!
In what was originally predicted to be a landslide victory for conservatives, the reality started to set in last night with the announcement of exit polls. The election results has now left the UK with a hung parliament with early data indicating that voter turnout amongst young people aged 18 – 24 was a whopping 72%, a massive increase from 43% in the 2015 election. This turnout was significant in Labour’s vote share increase across the country and it’s essential to note that a large voter turn out amongst young people sealed the fate of Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who lost his Sheffield Hallam seat to Labour’s Jared O’Mara who secured 21, 881 votes, with a majority of 2,125. Turnout in the city, which has two universities, was 77.8 per cent.
Few did as much to undermine young people's faith in politics in Nick Clegg. Tonight, young people struck back. #Election2017
— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) June 9, 2017
Clearly, this was an election that mattered to young people considering that 1.05 million 18 – 24 year olds registered to vote since the election was announced on the 18th of April. Not only were young voters tired of Theresa May’s austerity policies, the opposition candidate Jeremy Corbyn was a man who understood and listened to the grievances of young people reflecting these in his manifesto. Corbyn brought about a new wave of politics, one founded on integrity, honesty, and a care for society that appealed to young voters who have previously been disenfranchised with the candidates offered by political parties.
The massive mobilisation of young people was also down to social media, which was particularly instrumental against establishment news platform such as The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Telegraph which sought to discredit and undermine Jeremy Corbyn throughout the electoral process. Unlike previous generations, young voters no longer rely on these sources for credible news, opting instead for outlets such as Twitter which allows people to express their opinions in real time and correct false information peddled against candidates. The involvement of influencers such as Akala and grime artists including JME and Stormzy is largely unprecedented and credit to them for using their platform to encourage young people to vote.
The biggest losers today are the billionaires who own the Mail, Sun, Times and Telegraph. And thought they owned the nation.
— GeorgeMonbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) June 9, 2017
If this exit poll is correct it will be down to youth turnout. And if that is high then UK politics has changed forever.
— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) June 8, 2017
Young people ensured their voices were heard this election and long may it continue!
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