A You Gov poll surveyed over a thousand young people and found that two million do not intend to vote. Why? They think that politicians do not understand their issues and are more interested in celebrities and big business.
The only slightly contradictory thing is that when asked who should be Prime Minister, 12% said the Apprentices’ Lord Sugar and Russell Brand – who are celebrities. But this just proves a wider point.
The reason they like your Clarksons, Brands, Sugars (and perhaps Farages) is because young people (and older ones for that matter) want politicians with personalities they can relate to. Dare I say it they want authentic leaders.
In many respects the political elite are trying, they tweet, they have Facebook pages, they launch campaigns from the Ministry of Sound but for many it’s perhaps the maneuvering and game playing of politics that means less trust.
Now, I like to consider myself politically interested, but even when I watch the ducking and diving of interviewers questions by senior politicians (many of whom have taken a ‘how to duck and dive’ media training course) I have to yawn. It’s a major turn-off. Boris Johnson, who polled at 15% will at least offer up an answer or a statement, you may not agree with it (or on occasion understand it) but at least you get it and it doesn’t sound like it was crafted by a special adviser.
This is equally true for the message politicians are told to say in their daily party briefings – ‘the cost of living crisis’ anyone. This may be a valid policy line but not when squeezed into a question about the Ukraine crisis.
But back to the poll, it would be remiss not to say that the other point about the results was that Labour came out on top with young people. The 2010 election showed what can happen when young people are fired up to come out and vote. Tory strategists may be wise to keep an eye on this one.