Georgia L Gilholy: You can’t blame young people for turning their backs on the Conservatives

Georgia L Gilholy is a journalist.

A new study from the Policy Institute at King’s College London has found that in the UK both Generation Z and Millennials are significantly more likely than their elders to believe in Hell, although they are generally less religious.

But apart from the theological contradictions, is this really that surprising?

Declining living standards, family breakdowns and intense social isolation, compounded by Covid policies, have left generations to come more emotionally and financially vulnerable. None of our main political parties offer an inspiring alternative vision.

It’s no wonder my colleagues have eternal damnation on their minds.

The Conservatives are not solely to blame for my age group’s problems, but their more than thirteen years in government mean they have played an important role. And aside from reflecting on divine justice, these generations are more likely to share a contempt for our ruling party as well.

This week’s new report from centre-right think tank Onward provided bleak reading for CCHQ, suggesting that just 21 per cent of 25-40 year olds would consider voting for Tory candidates if general elections were held tomorrow. Can anyone blame them?

Sebastian Payne is obviously right that there is a way to persuade them, especially on economic issues. Almost everyone wants lower taxes on their wages, but can also define themselves politically.

Fulfilling its promise to build houses — regardless of the near-term NIMBY backlash — and proposing a robust economic model could help boost the party’s image with younger voters and give people a reason to trust it again.

Whether or not that will happen is another question entirely. For now, the party’s failings on wages, industry, housing, immigration and freedom of thought paint a bleak vision for the future.

It was disappointing to see ministers at the recent National Conservatism conference comment on the policy and criticize “wokeism” despite being in government and having a poor record on many of these issues that they could do something about to improve them.

While conservatism as a tradition offers endless ideas and possibilities, the Conservative Party itself seems little interested in anything but power, which includes kowtowing to the Blue Wall gerontocracy, developers and billionaire donors. A Twitter fanatic certainly spoke for many when he said:

“Nothing symbolizes the Tory economic model quite like Battersea power station. The transition from an industrial powerhouse to a shopping center owned by foreign investors, where consumption is fueled by credit.”

The Tories have conjured up terms like ‘levelling’ and ‘Northern powerhouse’ to lure voters, but have failed to implement a coherent industrial strategy; Our economy is indebted to foreign investors and we are failing to boost our own prosperity.

Full-time working households now earn less than retired households – and the gap is only widening. As the triple lockdown takes effect, real wages will still be lower in 2026 than in 2008.

Older generations, who have already acquired their wealth, often did not realize how crazy the housing market has become. In the 1970s, the average house cost three times the average wage; It’s now tenfold. Even for the lucky youngsters who can raise enough money for a down payment, Liz Truss’ disastrous mini-budget and a looming recession could make mortgage payments a challenge.

The Tories have also failed to deliver on their promise to abolish the tenancy system, meaning millions who do manage to climb the property ladder are trapped in properties that are becoming staggering resource sinks that they may find difficult to sell.

In a particularly frustrating episode of NatCon, Michael Gove, the housing secretary, bemoaned that “not enough houses are being built” – despite his own department failing to deliver on its promise of 300,000 new homes a year.

The Westminster bubble seems more concerned with managing people’s responses to contentious issues than responding with useful guidelines. While such methods can work in the short term, it is not a political project for which the next generation can hope.

The equivalent of a city the size of Birmingham arrived in the UK last year and the services are unprepared to respond. While many younger voters are more in favor of more lax immigration rules than their elders, the fact remains that mass immigration is depressing wages and eroding societal trust.

This also has a negative impact on productivity, as the large influx of unskilled labor forces companies to neglect innovation. Not surprisingly, the UK is one of the least automated economies in Europe, lagging behind post-communist Slovenia, Slovakia and Hungary.

Labor is ahead of the government on both immigration and law and order – issues on which the Tories tend to vote significantly better. There are strong arguments that theft and rape have actually been decriminalized due to declining arrest and conviction rates.

How can we plan for the future if we don’t feel safe in the now?

Onward’s Missing Millennials report also suggests that younger voters are less interested in so-called culture war issues, which ministers appear to be happy to meddle in on occasion. But even in a culture war crisis of real urgency, free speech, the Tories have no coherence.

It was announced this week that Sunak will appoint a new free speech advisor with the power to investigate and penalize universities that “censor academics for their views”.

Now, under this government’s flagship law on public order, it is illegal to take part in any form of peaceful demonstration within 150 meters of an abortion facility, and even silent prayer or holding a banner carries a two-year prison sentence. Nor has the government taken any real steps to tackle New Labour’s overzealous anti-hate speech legislation.

Ministers’ incessant complaints about the “smudge” impeding their plans come across as lazy and irritable after years of implementing reforms that could have made governance more impartial and effective.

Young people are excluded from their dreams of home and family and excluded from any participation in society. This is a dangerous prospect not only for the Conservative Party’s electoral prospects, but also for the well-being of the nation as a whole.

But why would anyone support something or someone that doesn’t meet your core needs and vision for the future?

So what can the Tories do about it before 2024? Actual fulfillment of their manifesto promises would certainly be a start.