The summary of the election seems to be that, defying all expectations of pollsters, the youth actually voted. The difference this election is that the youth had a very positive politician representing them who actually connected with them. Corbyn’s optimism is infectious, and the youth tend to get their information more close to the source than older people, so the hyperbolic tabloid attacks on Corbyn seemed so unbelievable as to fall flat.
The Tories have a growing problem here in that they are appealing mainly to socially regressive older people, who are a diminishing population. They underestimated just how much the youth distrusts them.
The ‘youth’ is a growing population. Conservatism is popular among people who are parents, home-owners and fairly settled in their career, who have established themselves into a safe position and don’t want to see the boat rocked. Thanks to the lethargic economic recovery of the last ten years, young people are delaying marriage, having children, and home ownership due to poor financial prospects. The Conservatives aren’t just alienating 18-25 year olds, they’re alienating 18-45 year olds.
Instead of addressing this, Theresa May has doubled down on a losing strategy by allying herself with the DUP, a set of extremely backwards fringe Christian fundamentalists. The values the DUP holds are from another century. They are completely alien to anyone to anyone who grew up in the Blair era or later.
Cameron spent a lot of effort detoxifying the ‘nasty’ image of the Conservative party and adding a strong liberal streak to what was previously a very condescending party. Theresa May has undone all of that hard work in the last 24 hours.