Millions of young people are disillusioned with politics and politicians, but if Labour could harness their support, an election victory would be assured. Here are Ten ideas on how Labour could win over the young:
Most young people pay rent to private landlords, or have had experience of doing so. Therefore Labour needs to promise much more. Rents are already way too high so capping them now does not help many. Conditions in many properties are appalling, so how about an Ofsted-style inspectorate to be set up to determine appropriate rent? Many of the profiteering landlords are tax avoiders and evaders, so HMRC should be targeting them.
Students especially are prone to exploitation by rogue landlords so new regulations should be considered. As all students are in the same boat, why not a standard rent per room per week, inflation-linked, and regardless of city, district etc, provided it meets certain criteria, like access to suitable kitchen, showers, bathroom, wifi etc. All students paying reduced fees with govt. loans to have accounts opened for them in a state-owned People`s Bank.
Pledge that increasing social mobility will be a priority target of Labour government, because top jobs going to Oxbridge graduates, privately educated pupils dominating top universities etc is unfair. (Labour prides itself on its fairness!) A cap at 10% of all students at any university to be from private schools will do for starters.
Social media, if utilised properly, can be successful in persuading young people out of their political apathy, as shown recently in America. Constant reminders of what the coalition has done, of what the Tories would do if given the chance, of how lives have been endangered by the malicious cuts, and of the difference Labour will make, can work wonders, especially if the messages are varied and appear on all aspects of social media.
Messages to the young need to be delivered by young Labour supporters. A team of four Labour activists, preferably from ordinary backgrounds, state schools and perhaps already working at Westminster, could be set up to write the messages, and perhaps devise a power-point for all Labour MPs and candidates to use in their constituencies when talking to young people, with youtube links to demonstrate exactly why their votes are needed.(eg Teacher unions used a very funny one of Gove!)
Young and famous people, provided there are no tax avoidance scandals possible, thus ruling out most sports stars, could be "volunteered" into posting messages on social media, thereby having rather a cooler appeal than most politicians.
Over half of young people are female, so most messages and party broadcasts should be delivered by females; the female MPs for Labour need to have a more public face and the male leaders less.
Many young people earn pittance so policy to end zero-hours contracts needs to be designed specifically for them, They would probably welcome knowing which employers were the best, so a Labour govt could initiate a system whereby awards are given to companies, to display in their advertising, when they pay correct tax, pay all workers at least living wage, with no zero-hours contracts, allow trade unions to operate freely, and have an appropriate number of suitable apprenticeship schemes.(all similar to the Blue Eagles in FDR`s USA)
"Three line whip" on all Labour MPs and candidates visiting secondary schools in their constituencies to talk to older pupils. Probably not many voters this time but undoubtedly influential members of families and communities. Damaging effects of Gove`s reforms on agenda, with pledges to repeal damaging assessment changes.
Challenge the coalition to change the location of polling booths before May 2015, or at least promise to do so when in government.They need to be less traditional and more accessible eg supermarkets, town centres, college campuses etc.