Who’d have believed that the much-maligned Jeremy Corbyn would turn around the fortunes of his party on the back of old fashioned campaigning and connecting his message to an audience other than the typical?
When Teresa May called the snap election I don’t think many of us could have foreseen the results we woke up to this morning. In seeking to strengthen her hand off the back of a relatively strong position and a Labour Party that many thought would be lost in the wilderness for a generation May looked, it appeared certain to win with an increased majority. Yet slowly, over the past few weeks something began to change and Corbyn started to connect with that hitherto missed generation of young adults.
In an age of digital Corbyn choose not to switch off analogue and in a somewhat strange twist won the minds of the digital age by appealing to the common touch. He came from a long way back – and it worked. The Telegraph wrote, ‘The turn out of 18 to 24-year-olds to vote on Thursday was 66.4 per cent, according to Sky News, compared to 43 per cent in the 2015 general election. This figure eclipses the equivalent of 137,400 on the last day for registrations in 2015 and meant that 1.05 million 18-24 year olds have registered since Theresa May called for an election on April 18.’
Is it that the young people of our nation sensed hope in Corbyn’s message? What is it about good old fashioned socialism that captured their hearts when the closest any of them will have been to it is a digest of Marxism at senior school? I guess some will have tuned into to Russell Brand’s The Trews and others followed the Guardian’s Paul Mason and Owen Jones on Twitter but there’s something else going off here. Corbyn has not so much won the disaffected as he has the disconnected. He’s caught the imagination of young people who are uncertain about the future – about jobs, houses and health by suggesting we are all in this together. In an age of entrepreneurism, individuality and me, me, me he has drawn deeply on the commonality that socialism aims to speak to that we’re in this together.
Not that I write as a political person, but as a Pastor, but what I see is an ability to capture the mood of a generation who are looking for hope and understand that community has to be at the heart of that desire if each individual is to thrive. What last night showed us is that young people want more than Snap Chat and Facebook – they want equity in the world, and, for now at least, they have sensed that in Jeremy Corbyn so turned out to vote for him in their thousands.