As of late, the crux of discourse for all political discussion has focused around image — or more notably — Ed Miliband’s alleged shortcomings in this area. As Handsome Dave carries on down the path of beauty towards Downing Street, the Labour leader is exposed to to an onslaught of slurs on a daily basis. Often described as geeky, ugly and weird. Judging solely on those descriptions, those new to the politics world would have conjured an image in their head of a figure reminiscent of the elephant man.

Beauty pageant aside, the real questions that need answering are: is Ed’s failure to capitalise on his party’s poll lead a visual breakdown; or, his lack of pioneering policy making? I would argue for both. Politics is inevitably becoming very much reminiscent of reality TV, unsurprising considering we’re force-fed such garbage on a daily basis. Elections can potentially be held on image, not manifestos. Yet, it is still lazy for the Labour Party to pin this down as their main problem.

What we’re told as young people, regardless of the answer to the aforementioned question — rather patronisingly by the centre lefts in Parliament — is that our failure to get behind the Labour leader is down to our vanity and lusting over a marketable ‘Beckamesque’ PM. That, I feel is both unreasonable and patronising. This standpoint ignores the fact that many people feel, including myself, that Labour and Ed are not the right fit to be in control of their future. Hence, the youth of this country turning to the Green’s for a brighter political landscape. Not because of Ed’s image, but his failure to produce any conviction within his own policies.

This level of disdain and disappointment is hardly surprising, when the ‘party of the people’ slashes benefits for 18-21 year-olds. The Labour Party’s pitiful attempt at implementing rent controls, their effort at trying to out ‘Tory the Tories’ on the social security budget; finally and arguably the worst of all Labour’s stances, the sheer ineptitude of their policy approach towards saving the NHS.

The NHS is Labour’s election winner, yet they still fail to grasp the electorate’s mood. All this from the ‘party of the unions‘ and a leader coined by right leaning papers as, ‘Red Ed’.

Apathy is rampant within my age group, plaguing my generation like a virus. Yet, the majority of people I know who are voting will not be voting purely on looks and aura. They will not be voting at all, because we are paying for a problem that we didn’t create. If you wanted to raise money, in a way that doesn’t involve decimating benefits for young unemployed people, a simple vow to close all loop holes across Britain, would generate enough money to cover welfare scroungers and more, adding money to the public purse, which we so desperately need.

What politicians must do — or the Labour party, if it wants to win back voters — is to make an essential and compulsive effort in providing policies that help young people; not halter them. Only then will people start to truly believe in the Labour party once again.

Any pragmatically driven political party will realise there is a legion of disgruntled ex-Lib Dem voters waiting to be snapped up. Feeling sullen and betrayed by the Lib Dem’s jumping into bed with the Tories, they’re desperate for a party that they can believe in. Rightfully, craving that Labour would do more.

Although we have seen signs of innovative policy making from Miliband — such as the energy price freeze — more must be done. Until then, a lot of young people will foolishly walk into matrimony with UKIP and we will rightly stay with the Green Party. The Green’s are the only party courageously proposing radical policy ideas that aim to help the future generation, not Phillip Green and Murdoch. The Green Party’s sustainable approach to energy; bigger not smaller budget for the NHS, nationalising the railways and a vow to keep education away from private investors, is what a lot of young people want.

At this political crossroad, the problem with Labour is not about Ed’s lack of bacon sandwich eating skills, it’s more his party’s lack of empathy and direction.  Helping young people who had no part in the recession— is a question that needs answering with brave policy making and compassion. We are not a ‘cotton-wool’ generation, yet. But we may be a doomed one.

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