He who has the youth has the future, said Leon Trotsky. For the Conservative Party, which counts on the support of older voters, the future doesn’t look bright. The gray vote isn’t turning red for Labour – it’s dying off.
The result of the June 8 election looks completely different when the older demographic is excluded. With Conservative Party voters dying at the rate of 2 percent per year, according to one observer, future elections could see Tory support crumble unless it appeals to the youth.
The shocking statistic came from none other than Tory grandee Lord Heseltine, who warned his party must act in order to stay relevant and “restore its electoral fortunes.”
The snap election saw the Conservatives lose 13 of their parliamentary seats and with them their majority in the House of Commons.
“One thing which is just worth having in mind, and you can’t do anything about it, 2 percent of the older part of the electorate die every year – they are 70 percent Conservative,” the one-time deputy to John Major told Sky News.
“Another 2 percent come in at the young end of the electorate – they are about 70 percent Labour. That’s about 2 percent change each year. There isn’t that much time.”
Recently published YouGov figures show that voters over the age of 70 opted predominantly for Theresa May’s party. A further half of those aged between 60 and 69 were also Tory supporters. But the trend started changing for those aged 50 to 59, who still voted predominantly blue, but only at a rate of 47 percent.
According to YouGov, “for every 10 years older a voter is, their chance of voting Tory increases by around nine points and the chance of them voting Labour decreases by nine points.”
In comparison, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party gained the support of 66 percent of 18 and 19-year-olds, and more than 60 percent of those aged 20 to 29.
“I find it incredible but I think Mr Corbyn is now a credible candidate for Number 10. The danger is that the Conservatives don’t find a way to argue him out of that position,” Lord Heseltine added.
“I am as interested in what the Conservatives are going to say as I am in who is going to say it. Theresa May could do the party a service by holding on a little whilst the party comes to a conclusion not just about who, but what.
“Given my rather bleak but I think realistic assessment about the time in which this government can survive before the opposition parties have a self-interest in bringing it down, it must be a matter of months before we have a new leader and a redefined policy in order to give us the chance to persuade an electorate that they want to support us.”
An unprecedented number of young voters turned out at polling stations on June 8, with 58 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds having their say. At the last general election in 2015, only 44 percent of those in the same age group voted.