A first-time voter last week will have been born in 1999. He or she will have no memory of John Major’s Government, which ended two years earlier, let alone of the Thatcher years that preceded it. The collapse of communism took place a decade previously.
A 34 year old voter last week will have been born in 1983. He has been voting since 2001, and may have voted Conservative then or subsequently. But he was a child when the Berlin Wall fell, and not even born during the Winter of Discontent.
In other words, these events, which marked part of life’s journey as adults for many of us, have not shaped the thinking of the youngest trance of voters, and weigh less on those in their late 20s and early 30s. The Tory campaign attacked Jeremy Corbyn relentlessly over his record on the IRA and Trident. But the former declared its first ceasefire in 1994, five years before that first-time voter was born. And the main security threat to Britain at present is internal.
The long and short of it is that as time passes a decreasing slice of the electorate has any experience at all of the threat of totalitarianism (or of old-fashioned socialism of the Corbyn kind): today’s younger voters have to look far away to North Korea; their predecessors had the Soviet Union squatting on their doorstep. The argument that socialism doesn’t work cuts little ice.
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