There are many areas where Theresa May is going wrong at the moment, most of which were highlighted during her speech at the Conservative Party Conference this week. However, there is one that is particularly potent and staring us all in the face.
It isn’t difficult to miss the policy announcements from the weak Tory government we have at the moment, but one such announcement that has stood out in particular is the student fees “revolution”. Well, at least The Telegraph thinks it’s a revolution.
The Conservatives have announced that they will freeze tuition fees. “Hooray!” said no student ever. Why? Because fees are being frozen at £9,250 a year. They aren’t going to decrease or, as the infinitely more appealing opposition wants to do, be eradicated. They will simply be frozen at the extortionately high rate we’re paying anyway. The problem with this is that it changes absolutely nothing and shows us only that the Tories would have raised them much higher (I’m sure I can hear the Cabinet shouting “and we would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”) if they could have.
Despite the fact Andrew Marr made the Prime Minister say she had changed her position on tuition fees, there is no change for us young people – and certainly no change in who the majority of us plan to vote for.
Following the general election earlier this year, in which most young people voted for Corbyn, the Conservatives and Theresa May decided that Labour seized the youth vote because of their pledge to scrap tuition fees. That, unfortunately for the Tories, is categorically untrue. To assume young people vote Labour because of tuition fees alone is naïve and endangers the future of the Conservative Party.
Young people are about much more than student fees. They are about a complete change in ideology. We have seen the failures of capitalism and we oppose the fact that the eight richest people in the world own as much as its poorest 50%. We can see that it’s unlikely we’ll get a mortgage for a home of our own and that millions of us will be in over £50,000 worth of debt by the age of twenty-one. We see all this crumbling in front of us and we are not happy with it.
Young people have decided it is time for change. Until the Conservatives see that, they will never be able to communicate with us properly. The support for Labour and the rise of the left isn’t just because of one single issue, it’s because of ideology.
While there will never be a Conservative Party that adopts policies exactly like Jeremy Corbyn’s, in order for it to stay relevant, it will have to do something to appeal to us. It will have to bring real change or face complete annihilation in the future. But only the wise in the Conservative Party have noticed the true extent of change needed. The rest will remain blissfully ignorant until it’s too late for them to change in accordance with the new generation of voters.
Whatever happens, the Tories are going to have to do a lot more than spin to turn the tables with the youth vote.