‘Revenge of the Youth’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attends a campaign rally with young activists.
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‘Revenge of the Youth’

How Britain’s young people are leading the surge toward socialism

The big question after Britain’s shocking election result last week is, why? How could someone with such extreme views come so close to power?

One major part of that answer is the youth.

Polls show a country more divided by age than ever.

Throughout the 1990s and on into 2010, those under 45 were slightly more left wing than their old countrymen: They were about 10 percent more likely, on average, to vote Labour, while those age 55 and above were about 10 percent more likely to vote Conservative.

But starting in 2015, the youth plunged left.

According to Lord Michael Ashcroft’s polling data, 67 percent of those between ages 18 and 24 voted for Labour, compared to 18 percent that voted Conservative.

The youth were also much more enthusiastic than in previous elections. Sky News estimated that 66.4 percent of young people came out to vote. Typically, youth turnout is somewhere around 40 percent.

“Revenge of the Youth! How 18-to-24-Year-Olds Furious Over Brexit Gave Theresa May a Disastrous General Election Result” was the headline in the Mirror in the wake of the election.

Why the massive swing to Labour?

The younger generation faces some hardships—every generation does. Over the last 10 years, tuition fees for universities have risen from £1,000 a year (or free for children of low-income families) to over £9,000 (us$1,275 to $11,475). It’s easy to see why the fees need to be in place—Britain is massively in debt and it is growing every year; it simply cannot afford such massive subsidies for university education. But at the same time, it’s easy to see why a student graduating with tens of thousands of pounds of debt, while his older sibling went to university for free, feels hard done by.

Meanwhile house prices have risen dramatically, to the point that a typical first-time buyer has to earn £52,000 a year to keep up with mortgage payments. The majority of all first-time buyers have help from parents and grandparents to afford the deposit, with two thirds in London needing help. Meanwhile, rents are the highest in Europe, with private tenants paying an average of 40 to 50 percent more than those in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium.

But every generation has challenges—other generations had different, and worse, hardships to deal with.

What is new is how these have become so heavily politicized. Jeremy Corbyn promised to end tuition fees, at one stroke saving young people from masses of debt. At the same time, he promised to build more government subsidized homes and cap rents in the private sector.

In other words, he promised to instantly solve some of the younger generation’s biggest problems.

Of course, these are quick and fake solutions. Eliminating tuition fees doesn’t solve the fact that the country cannot afford to pay for free university education; it merely uses debt to disguise it. And rent control never, ever works. They don’t solve housing problems; instead, they make the whole renting system a mess for everyone.

Jeremy Corbyn’s whole Marxist philosophy has been discredited everywhere that it’s been tried. But young people fell for his false promises—hook, line and sinker. For many, it’s not simply the self-interest of voting themselves tens of thousands of pounds better off. They have genuinely embraced his ideology.

Alex Cairns, who ran a social media campaign encouraging young people to vote, said the surge in younger voters was more because of Corbyn personally than the Labour Party in general. “A lot of young people were really inspired by him,” he told the Guardian. “They liked him as an individual.” There was “an undeniable sense of inspiration and draw towards Corbyn,” said National Union of Students president Malia Bouattia—herself part of the same radical-left-wing movement.

In Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett’s piece for the Guardian, what stands out is the shallowness behind the young voters’ decisions. “Another factor in Corbyn’s popularity, I suspect, is his supreme memeability,” she wrote.

“In a weird, wholly unexpected way, Corbyn was actually cool in a way that Ed Miliband—despite the Milifandom—was too geeky to ever really manage,” she continued.

Did the far left just take a massive step forward in Britain because its leader is “memeable”? He’s a terrorist-sympathizing Communist with an instinctive dislike of his own country. We’ll overlook that because he ate a Pringle.

“The newspapers may have gone to town on Corbyn, but younger people don’t read newspapers,” Bouattia wrote. “They get their news from social media, and social media has been very kind to Corbyn.”

How could this happen? It reveals a major weakness in Britain’s education system.

A Times Higher Education survey published just days before the election found that British university staff were overwhelmingly on the left. Fifty-four percent said they supported Labour. Only 7 percent said they supported the Conservatives! The others supported other left-wing parties—24 percent the Liberal Democrats, 5 percent the Green Party, and 5 percent the Scottish National Party.

In higher education, you are almost as likely to encounter a supporter of the Green Party—which has just one seat in Parliament—as you are to encounter a supporter of Conservatives!

No wonder Britain’s young people voted overwhelmingly for Jeremy Corbyn—their teachers are even more left-wing than they are!

British journalist Melanie Phillips pointed the finger at education in the run-up to the election. “Decades of exposure to an education system which has replaced knowledge by propaganda and instead of teaching children how to think has told them what to think has created a situation where many see Jeremy Corbyn as maybe a bit hopeless but essentially harmless,” she wrote.

“Social science and humanities departments have become giant, left-wing think tanks, spewing out reams of unreadable, ideologically monotonous ‘research’ calling for ever more government spending and intervention,” wrote the Telegraph’s deputy editor, Allister Heath. “With a few honorable exceptions, freethinkers are no longer welcome, except in the hard sciences; it probably takes the average youngster a decade or so of real-life experience to begin to grow out of the academic brainwashing.”

“It should be no wonder, given all of this, that young people who have no direct memory of the last time Corbynite economics was tried find it rather attractive,” he continued. “It’s what they’ve been taught, and it appeals to their better nature and youthful exuberance. The usual warnings that it will return us to the ’70s cut no ice: The history books they do read probably depict a version of events that many of us would not recognize.”

“It was in the educational system that the left got its foothold into the nation: first in colleges, then high schools and even elementary schools,” Gerald Flurry writes in Great Again.

In 1956, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote that Communists were “perverting our morals, sabotaging our educational system, wrecking our social structure, destroying our spiritual and religious life, weakening our industrial and economic power, demoralizing our armed forces, and finally, after such infiltration, overthrowing our government by force and violence! All this cleverly disguised as a harmless political party! Communism is a worldwide psychological warfare!” (1975 in Prophecy).

Communism is a global ideology far bigger than just the Soviet Union. But look at what power communism exerted through just one of the Soviets’ strategies. They failed to overthrow America outright during the Cold War. But since the Soviet Union fell, it has become clear that they poured millions each year into influencing Western education. When you see that the influence education has exerted on society has been radically left-wing, can you deny that, for the Communists, this was a devastatingly effective investment?

For more on the way communism has influenced education and Western society, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s booklet Great Again.