Why the Under 25s Will (Mostly) Never Vote Tory

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It’s generally understood that younger people (in the UK) tend to vote Labour and older people tend to vote Conservative, and given that there’s a reasonable chance of Conservative leadership bunfight in the offing, along with local and Europeans elections looming, there has been a spate of articles in recent days (James Forsyth’s in the Telegraph for one) around how the Tory party have tried and failed to woo the ‘yoof’ vote.

I think, given what I’ve been focussing on in recent days, that the under 25’s proclivity to vote Labour has a lot to do with the fact that their right-brains are fully developed while their left hemisphere is still developing. As a result, they tend not to use their pre-frontal cortex for decision making as the integrative logical functions are still not fully formed, and instead tend to use their amygdala, buried down in their limbic system.

This makes them susceptible to more emotional arguments and viewpoints that the Left tend to rely on in their campaigns. Under 25’s also tend to focus on more self-centred issues – cost of education, cost of housing, getting a job. Labour’s very clever ploy to abolish university tuition fees played directly into this. The fact that it probably would have mostly been paid for by raising corporation tax, thus threatening many small businesses and a massive chunk of the gig economy, is a logical conclusion lost in the emotional maelstrom of limbic thinking.

I certainly remember getting swept along on the tide of emotion that engulfed the UK when Tony Blair powered his way to victory in 1997. I was 24 and I had no idea what either party really stood for. I had no time for logical arguments, I just wanted the smelly old Tories out. I totally bought into the message of ‘time for a change’. I’m not sure I can, hand on heart, say that change was particularly good, but there we go.

The problem with the Conservative message is that it is often portrayed through the lens of capitalism, with no recourse to the ideas of social evolution, and the almost mystical ideas of society from which capitalism emerges (more on that soon). These are nebulous arguments, and hard to sell at the best of time to anyone. So capitalism is reduced from the natural outpouring of human activity to work together to stay alive, and focussed through the emotional lens of cruelty and greed. This is something that resonates with the limbic system and gets the old noradrenaline flowing. Capitalism is bad! Businessmen are evil and greedy! The staple output of the left. Cold hard facts that contradict these stories are ignored (the Tories tend to be better at environmentalism and social care, and ‘capitalism’ can drive up living standards for all), the developed emotional right brain filtering them out.

I guess, with my filmmaker hat on, this also explains why the key demographic for blockbuster movies is the 18-25 range, they have the time, the money and the brain skewed towards enjoying films.

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