Young people fought for Corbyn but will now face another Tory government. We need to channel our anger into activism, argues Lucy Nichols
The Conservative Party have just won their biggest majority since Thatcher. Just like we did in the 1970s, we’ve got another Prime Minister with an overwhelming contempt for the working class, ethnic minorities, the disabled, LGBTQ+ people and many more of the most vulnerable sections of our society.
Those hit the worst in the next five years will be those whose lives have already been destroyed by the last decade of Tory rule; austerity has taken the lives of 130,000 people and this number will likely rise. The Tories will do nothing to eliminate the need for food banks (which over a million people already rely on), alleviate homelessness or save the NHS.
The Labour party has lost some of its most principled MPs; Laura Pidcock, Dennis Skinner, and Emma Dent Coad – the MP who has been fighting tirelessly for the survivors of the Grenfell fire. The biggest slap in the face is that the most honest, fair and honourable leader the Labour Party has had in decades will be stepping down.
Perhaps the group most disillusioned with the outcome of this election is young people. Despite registering to vote being an unnecessarily tedious process, if you’ve moved to university, registration amongst young people hit two million in the weeks before the election. Had it been left to the 18-24 year olds, we would be celebrating a socialist Labour government today.
Sadly this is not the case, and young people (like me), and probably many many others, have completely lost faith in the democracy of this country. Having been told by countless people on the left that the student vote could change the course of the election, it is painful that the ‘Youthquake’ seems to have made no difference.
Corbyn gave genuine hope to many young people, more than any other Labour leader many of us have seen in our lifetimes. He offered a solution to the issues affecting us; tuition fees, employment, housing, the climate crisis, and the safety of ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ+ community. Corbyn offered a solution to an inherently racist, classist society and a disgustingly racist, classist Conservative Party; I’ve spoken to Muslim friends who no longer feel safe in such a staunchly Conservative country.
There is a sense of disbelief in Manchester, which voted strongly in favour of Labour. Campaigners have been fighting tirelessly in Greater Manchester and nearby marginal seats for Labour votes, and the recent UCU strikes gave many students easy access to political activism. In September, thousands braved torrential rain to march through the city in protest at the Tory party conference.
Many I have spoken to feel as though they have been robbed of a future, whether by crippling tuition fees, the death of the NHS, or the climate crisis. However disappointing the result is for us, we shouldn’t allow this to be seen as a conflict between generations. False divisions have been the key to Labour’s defeat. This is about fighting for a world that is liveable, pleasurable and fulfilling for everyone. Despite the way the election played out, yesterday’s stock market surge shows who will really benefit. The challenge now is to channel this anger into activism and not let it dwindle into apathy. The campaign against another five years of Tory government starts now.
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