I have a small bottom. I don’t mean as in JLo (doesn’t), I mean as in a small mini-me, Baby Bottom, who is precisely 1.15385 years of age. As such she has managed to get her head around a few words; “hiya!” and “bye!” shouted loudly at inappropriate times are favourites, and now she also has a favourite colour. Well, truth be told, its the only colour she knows, yellow (except she pronounces it “yeah-yo”)
I stumbled across this graph from Reuters showing the trends in young voters, (although it shows it across such a time-scale that those were young voters on the left of the graph are now the grandparents or great-grandparents of the ones now standing up and being counted on the right.)
There are no huge surprises in this graph, except perhaps that labour are still doing so well. By contrast, when I was in the 18-24 age bracket about <cough> years ago, the conservatives were the only party that I and my peers had any recollection of being in power and were roundly detested by anyone in student establishments, education being a source of numerous deep and lasting fiscal wounds that Thatcher inflicted on the country then. Likewise, an 18 year old today was just 5 years old when Labour swept to power in 1997 and must remember nothing of the previous government. However unlike the Tory-haters that we grew up to be in the 1980’s and 90’s, today’s young voters still hold sway with Labour, albeit on a downwards trajectory.
But how does anyone know, now, what they are really voting for? Political parties seem to prefer to hide their basic principles and nitpick policies rather than stand loud and proud for what they stand-for.
When I was “young” (I still refuse to believe that I am old, but the age bracket I have to put myself in in surveys keeps getting further down the page) politics was quite simple Labour = socialism = red, Conservative = Captalism = blue, Liberals = middle way = yellow.
These days its not clear to me, never mind 18-24 year olds what the differences are between the parties. I mean by that deep down what they really stand for, really believe in, what core values determine their policies (if you ask them they all give the same wooly yoghurt-weaving answers)
So when it comes to voting I might just ask Baby Bottom what her favourite colour is (bearing in mind she will most likely have learned at least red as well as “yeah-yo” by May), and muse on what the graph will look like in 2026 when she reaches the left hand side.