LETTER: Time to reflect on young voters
For the first time in many years, the Labour vote in Horsham constituency came second to the Conservatives - with the Lib-Dems in third place, following a concerted campaign.
Political commentators tend to agree that Labour’s relative success nationally was due to a resurgence in the youth vote - the 18-24 age group. In days gone by, it was the Conservative Party that had the most successful youth movement - not only in the UK but also in Europe.
Here, of course, I refer to the Young Conservatives - which at its height could claim over 100,000 members. But an active social life for young people between the age of 15 and 30 was not its only claim to fame.
Cynics described the YCs as merely a marriage bureau and there is some truth in that claim. And many elderly Tories will recall the meetings, debates and numerous social events held at the Black Horse Hotel at the end of West Street during the 1950s and in later years.
But as a former member of the YC National Committee - also one time Chair of its External Relations Committee, I can verify that the Young Conservatives had considerable influence on Tory Party policy by having ease of access at the highest level to senior politicians.
Perhaps, party managers would do well to reflect upon why the YCs fell out of favour with the young - also what steps could be put in place to once again attract young voters.
They could perhaps start by producing a fully costed manifesto with policies aimed at younger voters - in particular those related to affordable housing in our over crowded South-East.
Also a more sensitive leadership that is willing to listen - outside an inner cabal of unelected advisers in Number Ten.
Credit where it’s due - Jeremy Corbyn clearly struck a chord with the young - and he is now reaping the rewards. That’s surely a lesson for all political parties - Left, Right and Centre.
Robert B. Worley
Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham
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