Damage Limitation: How Tory Policies Could Backfire at the Polls

A series of policies aimed squarely at older voters suggests the Tories have given up all hope of winning the election. Instead, they’re trying to mobilise them to prevent a whitewash at the polls. 

Demographic Splits

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There’s a clear voting intention split in the demographics, with the younger voters far more likely to vote Labour. According to Statista, 68% of 18-24 year olds intend to vote for Labour. 

Older Voters Vote Tory

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The contrast is with the older voters. In 2019, figures show that 67% of the over-70s voted for the Conservative party, and only 14% voted for Labour. 

A Series of ‘Baffling’ Policy Announcements

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So far, the Tories have made a series of baffling announcements. They’re either divisive, aimed at older voters, or both. There has been nothing of note for younger voters. 

National Service Announcement

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The biggest shock has been the announcement of a National Service scheme for 18-year-olds. It would mean when a person turns 18, they’d have to complete a community programme over 12 months or enrol in a year-long military training scheme.

“Toughening Up” Teenagers

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Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said that the National Service would “toughen British teenagers up,” which is a phrase the older voters will love. Unfortunately for him, it’ll also likely lose them many votes. 

Announcement Pushing Young Voters Away

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The National Service policy has alienated young people. Social media commentary shows that young people find the idea laughable, which, if anything, will make them likely to vote Labour rather than not vote at all. 

Older Voters Like the Idea

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Polling amongst the older voters shows many of them are in favour of the idea. There’s the longstanding old-young divide, where old people think the youth are lazy and would benefit from national service.

Triple Lock Plus

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Another policy encouraging older voters is the ‘Triple Lock Plus’ on pensions. Should the Tories win the election, they’ve promised that pensions will rise with either average earnings, inflation, or 2.5%—whichever is higher—from next April.

Strengthen Immigration Policies

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A study on immigration attitudes from Oxford University showed that 55% of people 65 and older said that immigration should be ‘reduced a lot’. Only 12% of people 18-24 share the same opinion. 

‘Rip-Off’ and ‘Mickey Mouse’ Degrees Targeted

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Rishi Sunak has suggested that should the Tories win the next election, they’ll enable the Office for Students (OfS) to investigate poorly-performing universities and scrap under-performing courses. Those with poor job prospects and high dropout rates would be under pressure. 

Divisive Politics

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These policies are part of a wider plan to create division between the demographics. It’s designed to suggest that the Tories would get tough on the young people, making them do National Service and not allowing them an easy ride in education. 

Opportunities Needed for Young People

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Prospects would be more helpful for young people. A generation of young people emerged from school and education in and around a pandemic, which hampered their chances.

Experts Say It’s Tougher Than Ever for Young People.

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Liz Emerson, co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation, said, “Younger generations have had to deal with a tsunami of issues over the past decade, from the tripling of tuition fees to Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a cost-of-living crisis that has led to unprecedented rent inflation and homelessness.”

Prospects, Not Punishment

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Emerson continued: “What younger generations need is a housing service not national service. That means affordable housing; higher wages; fairer taxation; and a return to investment in their generation. The current message being sent to younger generations is that their votes simply don’t matter.”

Policies All Benefit Older Voters

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Nick Turnbull, a senior lecturer in politics at the University of Manchester, said: “Young people are being targeted implicitly with the national service rhetoric,” he said. “And while there are tax breaks for older people, there’s not much going fg people at all, there’s no real support for them.”

Why So Much Emphasis on Older Voters?

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The only way to prevent an absolute whitewash in the polls is to incentivise the older generation. Promise them pension boosts and build on their opinions that the youth are lazy and weak. 

Play to Prejudices

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The opinion polls show that the older generations think immigration is a big issue. Hence, the Tories are desperate to show they’re the tough party on immigration – even if their time in government suggests otherwise. 

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

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Such inflammatory policies are relatively new from a mainstream party, and they smack of desperation. Make a statement, outline a problem, and hope that your supporters will come out in droves.

Opinion Polls Show It’s Not Working

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Unfortunately for Suank and Co, the opinion polls show that the public sees through their nonsense. Instead, they’re likely to politicise a whole new generation against them, leading to future elections being harder to win.

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The post Damage Limitation: How Tory New Policies Could Backfire at the Polls first appeared on Edge Media.

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