Shout Out UK’s Political Correspondent Erik Green spoke to the President of the European Youth Forum, Luis Alvarado Martinez about the group’s aims in tackling the pernicious issue of unpaid internships and the future of British Politics and Elections.
A Solution to Unpaid Internships?
Unpaid internships are an issue that opens up passionate debate amongst younger voters, with some labelling them as the ‘glass ceiling’. Despite years of pressure and parliamentary debate, the UK is no closer to solving the problem. However, the European Youth Forum think that they have found the solution.
Younger voters have the power to create change
Clearly pleased with the unprecedented high youth turnout, Luis went on to explain how Labour’s efforts in this year’s general election were a ‘perfect example’ of a campaign connecting with younger voters through social media. He argues that the future of campaigning has shifted from ‘door-knocking and leafleting’ to Facebook and Twitter, and that it is online where the crucial battles may be won or lost.
After younger people’s political apathy in the EU Referendum left ‘Leave’ to win with a 52-48 per cent margin, voters aged 18-24 realised the potential impact their votes could have on an election result. In June, the increased younger turnout helped Labour win seats like Canterbury and Lincoln.
But what inspired younger people to get out and vote? Why did they vote in 2017 and not 2016 or 2015?
The Future of Politics
Can the Conservative Party ever win back the youth vote? Are the current established parties ready and prepared to face the challenges ahead, like climate change, soon to be the central issue of our societies? Luis believes that there is a chance that the Conservatives can win back the youth vote. He also thinks that it’s time for the creation of a new party.
‘No longer are voters tied to the old partisan politics’
Speaking to Luis made me realise that actually, Brexit is not the only revolution taking place in British politics at the moment. In fact, the technological revolution that has dramatically changed all our lives is changing politics too. We are currently living through this revolution and for that reason, no one will know exactly where our world may end up.
However, my interview with Luis indicates that the revolution is one that will end with the two political parties fighting over social media for our votes. Elections are now going to be won or lost on the thing we spend the most time on (not that surprising really). Though Labour are currently ahead in this revolution, they are still miles behind the Tories in trying to keep with the public mood over Brexit — a lengthy transition, with the possibility of remaining in the single market and the customs union. This is not what people voted for however, so both sides now just want the job done and more importantly, to be able to see reduced low-skilled immigration, increased sovereignty and the benefits which these things bring.
Perhaps, these two revolutions will collide, and that may happen with the creation of a new modern political party capable of using social media to capitalise on not just young support but cross-generational support too. In Many revolutions, for example, the French Revolution, those that began as the rebels ended up becoming overthrown by a new faction of rebels. The party that can combine social media and also match a vision of Brexit shared by the 17.4 million people who voted for it, will be able to avoid facing the metaphorical guillotine of the anti-establishment rhetoric shared by so many disgruntled voters.
Democracy is the best method to change the country for better or for worse. The Brexit revolution is changing our country. The technological revolution is changing our democracy. Combined, this promises to be one hell of a revolution.