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The election result isn’t all old people’s fault

This article is over 2 years, 8 months old
Issue 2685
United opposition to the Tories
United opposition to the Tories (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Age affected how people voted. The younger you are, the more likely you are to have voted for Labour. And the percentage of people who backed the Tories rose steadily as their age goes up.

And compared to 2017, those in the oldest three age groups delivered bigger votes for the Tories this time around.

Meanwhile class seems to be becoming less of a factor in shaping who people vote for. For instance, those groups defined as working class—called C1, C2 and DE in the jargon—were all more likely to vote Tory this time. These categories aren’t precise, but they give some guide.

There’s no point denying that older people are more likely to back the Tories over Labour. But we can’t write them off as one reactionary bloc either.

For instance, over a quarter of those aged 55-64 voted Labour this time, and over a third of those aged 45-54. In 2017 the figures were even higher.

There is other evidence of older people holding more progressive ideas too. Many joined the Extinction Rebellion movement, saying concern for their grandchildren motivated them to take action over climate change.

Ordinary people’s ideas can shift left if there is an upsurge in struggle—whatever age they are.

And just because the Tories won backing from more working class people this time, that doesn’t mean those people are lost to the right.

Many will be angry over politicians’ failure to implement Brexit. Voting Tory doesn’t necessarily mean they support Tory policies such as austerity and privatisation.

The election result, after a decade of Tory attacks, was terrible.

But we should remember that people’s ideas aren’t fixed, and that action by ordinary people can shift things back.

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