You know that recent story that less than one in five millenials supports the Conservative Party?
The findings, presuming we can trust them (which I don’t assume at all), all point towards the need for the Conservatives to become more Conservative again, which is good.
Except that one of the findings is this:
Protect the environment, including the green belt. The environment is the third top issue for 18-24 year old voters and younger voters. All ages, including 18-24s favour protecting the green belt.
Yet the young are supposed to be turning away from Conservatives in droves because of the exorbitant cost of housing in the UK, which they blame on the Tories.
The young are, shall we say, very uneducated on the conflict here. Like it or not, ‘protecting the green belt’ pushes up house prices. It’s not the only factor, of course, but it’s a major one. If you want cheaper houses, which is entirely reasonable thing to want, especially for younger people who cannot get on the housing ladder (and they have my greatest sympathy, British house prices are insane) then you have to give up some of your other cherished beliefs, such as protecting the green belt, or being pro-immigration, or being pro-low density housing. You can’t have all these things. Life is about trade-offs, and here’s one crunch point where trade-offs have to be made.
The worst thing is that these millenials are leaving school having no idea about what drives house prices. They think it’s just Thatcherite greed, or something like that that they heard about on a chat forum. And they think that things can be solved by taking a lot of money off middle-class, middle-aged people and bunging every young person a couple of hundred thousand for a house.
The Conservatives, of course, have utterly failed in explaining this quandary (just like they have utterly failed in making any sort of a pro-market case in recent decades). Yet another reason why the Conservative Party is a liability for the right.
Update: As Alison Pearson points out, it’s not just the young that the Tories are losing:
Bizarrely, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt chose this week to fret about the Conservatives’ lack of appeal to young people after a study showed that voters don’t switch to the Tories till the age of 51.
That’s the least of your worries, Penny, darling. Come out to the Shires and ask a Tory over 51 about their voting intentions. Be sure to stand well back so the flames don’t singe your blow-dry.