First, who are they and what is their importance? The term “Millennials” refers to those people born between 1980 and 2004, (Although, there is a margin of error here of + or – three years in either direction). They are important for two very good reasons, they are the future of this country and yet in the 2010 GE only 55% of 25 – 34 year olds and 44% of 18 – 24 year olds voted. Secondly, and something which should really worry political Parties in this country, if that vote percentage rose by just 10% over 80 MPs could lose their seats. (According to research by IF).
What politicians have not grasped is the fact that this demographic do not see the need to vote as they truly believe that their vote will not make a difference or change anything. A global survey by Telefonica shows that political parties are failing to inspire the young, further, millennials list unemployment (23%), the economy (19%), and social equality as their main concerns.
It comes as no surprise in this time of forced austerity that the young are more likely to vote for Labour than any other political party. Thirteen years of dumbed-down education, coupled with poor job prospects have produced the most ill-informed, apathetic generation in the Western World. The Tories must take some blame for this because in the five years since Labour they have done nothing to correct things. In a spectacular show of cowardice they (Conservatives) got rid of the one person who had any real grasp of what was wrong with the education system in this country. Having fought off the Unions, disgruntled teachers and lazy parents it is ironic that it was his own party which removed him from Office!
When the Tories came to power in 2010 the country was on its knees thanks to a free-spending Labour government that had no grasp of finance and even less of governing the country. The Coalition set about trying to put the country back on its feet but instead of standing back and evaluating the problem they set about it like a pack of rabid Fox Hounds in a Fox-feeding frenzy. The cuts were too deep and the time scale too small. It was no wonder then that Labour were able to exploit this with promises of no austerity and jobs for all in order to win over the small percentage of millennials who will vote in May 2015 coupled with the stalwart amnesiacs who vote Labour because their gullibility factor is off the scale.
However, no matter their protestations, Labour have pathetically failed this demographic. Having brainwashed them through their formative years they then bribed them with the prospect of gaining meaningless degrees at cash-strapped universities throughout the land. Unfortunately, employers were not interested in these easily won pieces of paper and millions of young people found themselves jobless and, worse, without any prospect of gaining meaningful employment.
For this generation the ‘smart phone’ is God. It is their key to the World and it would be all too easy for the older generation to stereotype millennials as a generation of ne’er-do-wells, addicted to the digital World. This could not be further from the truth, it is the ability to get instant access to friends, money, social media and to shrink the World through internet use that sets this generation apart. It is unfortunate therefore that politicians do not recognise what a vibrant resource the millennials are.
This is the generation that will educate the next generation so for politicians to ignore them is to practice stupidity in the extreme! UKIP should be pulling out all of the stops in order to embrace millennials. Money spent on advertising which takes cheap shots at the Tories or Labour could (and should) be better spent on IT. Advertisers have already grasped the fact that millennials spend an inordinate amount of time on their smart phones and they use this to their full advantage.
UKIP should be doing the same, social media and digital advertising are the way to go and, as has been discovered by the IF, 83 MPs could be unseated if just 10% more millennials voted. Eighty three seats would give UKIP the advantage that Nigel Farage so craves for in the House of Commons.