The myth at the heart of the ‘Corbyn project’ is that it is a grassroots movement of enthusiastic young people. This group, so the theory goes, is disgusted by free markets and longs for industries to be nationalised and collectives of workers to seize control of the means of production. Books have even been written about how the ‘young’ have ‘created a new socialism.’ But if this is true, why does a poll today reveal that support for the newly-formed centrist Independent Group predominantly come from young people? Forty-seven per cent of 18-24 year olds approve of the creation of TIG, with just 14 per cent disapproving of it. This is strange behaviour from an age group we’re constantly told are supposed to be most rabidly in favour of Jeremy Corbyn. Listening to high-profile Corbynistas in their plentiful media appearances you would assume that the people most likely to back TIG are ageing Blairites and ‘centrists dads’. Far from it.
In fact, less than a third of older voters approve of the new group. This comes as little surprise when compared to other polling, which reveals that young people are among the most likely of any age group to say that “government taxes too much and spends too much on services” with the over 65s being the least likely to support that same statement. 18-24s are also the least likely to support the view that “government taxes too little and spends too little on services”, with just 22 per cent agreeing, ten points behind the over 65s. It is clear that there is more to young people’s dissatisfaction with Labour than Brexit equivocation.
Young people are the least likely to oppose introducing competition into government services, and the least likely to favour the government pursuing equality of outcome.