Belfast Telegraph

Never mind the policies, Tory MPs should just start rapping if they want to win back the youth vote

In tune: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with young festival-goers at Glastonbury
In tune: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with young festival-goers at Glastonbury

By Mark Steel

It's heartening that the Conservative Party is trying to work out what mistakes it made and several of their MPs have suggested they should adopt some of Jeremy Corbyn's campaigning methods, especially in attracting youth.

So, to start with, Conservative members should gather in groups at rock festivals and sing "Oooooh, Andrea Leadsom" and see if it catches on.

Then they could start their own support from the grime rap scene, the way Labour did in its sneaky way.

They could make films in which DJ Michael Fallon struts round a housing estate, rapping, "Hey my crew's strong and stable/And swear down bruv I'm able/To press a button to enable/Mass destruction at da table/Not like Corbyn or dat wasteman Vince boy Cable" and see how long it took before it went viral.

They should find a way of attracting the youth in the way Corbyn has, because I expect it's only the way Labour puts stuff on YouTube and Twitter that won young people to Labour's cause.

The ideas, such as abolishing tuition fees, didn't make much difference. If the Tories could make something shiny and sung by Stormzy, I'm sure they could get people to support policies such as taking away your house to pay for your dementia care.

It's possible there are bigger changes taking place. For example, the British Social Attitudes survey this week revealed 48% now support higher taxes to pay for services. But this probably doesn't mean anything.

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The problem the Conservatives have is it wasn't just Labour that got 40% of the vote, it was a Labour party with policies and a leader that - everyone had agreed - made them completely unelectable.

For two years, there were columns every day that went, "Labour would literally have more chance if they were led by the devil, and he started his conference speech 'I don't just want their votes, I want their souls, mwahahaha' and sacrificed a virgin as a symbol of the plans to take the east coast railway line back into public ownership". And that would be a joint statement from the shadow Cabinet.

Some Conservatives, such as Toby Young, urged his supporters to register as a Labour member and vote for Corbyn, as this would ensure the Tories stayed in power forever.

To be fair, this confirms a unique talent of Toby Young, to manage to be wrong about everything, all the time.

Murdoch helped destroy Kinnock, Brown and Miliband, but couldn't touch Corbyn who he hates more than anyone. The Daily Mail sees its causes wilt every day.

What was considered extreme a few weeks ago now seems mainstream. For example, there's the reaction to the atrocious fire. Conservative politicians and columnists expressed outrage at Corbyn and John McDonnell's comments, who blamed cost-cutting for the disaster.

They claimed this was an attempt to "politicise" the tragedy and they may have a point, because the fact the fire happened in a block occupied by working-class people, following years of cuts in health and safety and council budgets was probably just a coincidence and an identical fire must be just as likely in Donald Trump's tower.

Also, it can't be fair to jump to the conclusion that the deadly cladding was chosen because it was cheaper. There could be many reasons why the contractors picked that sort. Maybe it was all they had left at B&Q.

It would also be bad form to suggest there was a culture of hostility towards health and safety. When David Cameron announced in 2012 that health and safety culture was part of a "sea of red tape, a restrictive monster", he meant in a nice way.

Years of Tories screaming, "Health and safety, health and safety, how can business build anything if they've got to worry about health and stinking, rancid, useless, pointless safety?" didn't suggest that they were in any way hostile to health and safety.

Until recently, the Labour Party would have shied away from making these claims. But now it's accepted as reasonable for Labour to make their case and even the demand to re-house survivors in homes left empty by the wealthy has, to some extent, been agreed.

Belfast Telegraph


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