There is little doubt that the biggest electoral challenge facing my Conservative Party at present is the need to strengthen engagement with young voters. We are told that young voters flocked to Labour at the last General Election. We need to understand why. We are told Labour promises to scrap tuition fees and wipe out student debt arising from tuition fees were a key factor - even though primary school children could work the promises were not findable! Personally I don’t think we can or should match these promises, though of course we could cut back on the total number of young people who go to university. Personally, I don’t support reducing fees across the board, wiping out student debt or cutting back on number of students going to university. Though I would support reducing the interest rates charged on student loans. Be pleased if such a reduction featured in the budget later this month. In fact, we have effectively ensured the impact on students will be much diminished by raising the pay threshold at which they will be required to repay loans. This highly significant and costly change was hardly noticed. There will be little electoral benefit from that!
A more important issue is housing. We need to ensure young people have a stake in capitalism. Without such a stake, if capitalism is not relevant to them, why would young people vote for a party which believes in and supports capitalism. Young people can not afford housing today (unless bank of mum and dad can help out). We need a million new houses built or being built by 2022. Council housing (with option to buy would make a difference). New villages with mix of public and private will also make a difference. But the big difference would come from streamlining planning processses, ending land banking (permissions should be used or lost) and making every last inch of public sector owned land available to private sector to build. The price of housing is too high, driven up by scarcity, and must be brought down. There will always be arguments against building on a large scale, but because our population is growing so rapidly, and is going to continue to grow, we have no option but to deliver a revolution in house building.
And I also support giving 16 year olds the right to vote. It’s never made any sense to me that a 16 year old is deemed old enough to have sex and start a family, why on earth can they not be free to vote. This is generally thought not to benefit the Conservative Party. I’m not so sure. And anyway it’s what is right. Usually if a Govt does what is right, it wins.
I quite like writing stuff I really believe to be right, when I suspect many (perhaps most) will disagree.