The cringe-worthy phrase “young Conservative” conjures up an image of a bespectacled, tweed-clad old Etonian too stuffy to embrace “real change”.
As a spec-free, state-educated young woman, my voting intentions tend to be greeted with a mixture of shock and resentment. By not supporting Jeremy Corbyn and his Communist buddies, I am – I am told – an “age traitor”. Boris is for boomers, the thinking goes, and Corbyn is for us.
But scratch the surface and you’ll find that the Prime Minister – a man who made his name as mayor of London – has rather a lot to offer us young folk. And Jeremy Corbyn – a Marxist straight from the 70s- might just make our lives a hell of a lot worse.
Take, for example, the issue the vast majority of young people say matters to them most: housing.
If you’re a young private renter, Corbyn’s radical plan to crackdown on “dodgy” landlords sounds really rather good.
But there’s a serious catch. If landlords could be forced by the government to sell their homes to tenants at a price dictated by the Government, the buy-to-let market would collapse. And fast.
In a few pockets of the country, where housing supply is plentiful, that would be great. With landlords out of the picture, those desperate to get on the property ladder might stand a chance.
In most of Britain, though, the picture wouldn’t be so rosy. Where available housing is precious and most people can’t afford to get on the housing ladder (ie. big cities) private renting is a blessing. And a collapse in the buy-to-let market would hike the price of it.
So under Corbyn’s “fairer Britain”, those right at the start of their careers would soon be priced out of metropolitan areas.
Then take university fees. Again, the idea of “free uni” sounds very tempting indeed. But under Corbyn’s regime, university tuition wouldn’t suddenly become free. It would just be paid for by the tax-payer instead of the student.
CONSERVATIVE WITH PRIDE
What does that mean in practice? Well, it means that the 50 per cent of young people who opt to get a job end up at 18 would end up massively subsidising the 50 per cent who choose to enjoy three years of student life. I loved my time at uni, but I don’t see why my 21 year old cousin – who’s been working his socks off in the navy for three years – should be forced to pay for it.
And even if you are a student or planning to go to university, Corbyn won’t help you in any real sense. If students don’t contribute to their own education, universities suddenly have a lot less money. Which means they can’t admit as many teenagers.
In Scotland, for example, where tuition has been “free” for years, fewer and fewer young people are going to university. And because the middle classes know how to game the system, it tends to be disadvantaged kids who get let down.
And if you work for yourself, which around 60% of Generation Z would like to do, Labour’s radical tax plan certainly isn’t for you.
Even though Jeremy Corbyn has promised that only the richest five per cent of workers will face higher bills, new analysis shows that self-employed workers earning much less could be £10,000 a year worse off under the new rules. And sole traders – ie. young, ambitious entrepreneurs who pay themselves lower salaries in order to invest in their businesses – would suffer the most.
Boris Johnson might not be a hit at Glastonbury. But like a true One Nation Conservative, he believes in opportunity. And his pragmatic schemes, like 5% deposit mortgages, would give hard working young people a proper leg up in life.
I don’t hunt, I don’t shoot, and I wouldn’t be seen dead in tweed. But I believe that a country can only succeed when ambitious young people are encouraged by the state to spread their wings and fly. Not given countless handouts by a bankrupt Government.
So tomorrow, I’ll be voting Conservative with pride.
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