Youthquake / by Lasma Poisa

“Youthquake”, defined as “a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people”, has been selected by Oxford Dictionaries as the 2017 word of the year.
— The Guardian,
jeremy corbyn rainbow horse.jpg

In 2015 when Jeremy Corbyn became the leader of the Labour Party, a large number of young people got involved in politics for the first time to support him. Before JC only a small percentage of young people voted as there was apathy about any real change regardless of who they voted for. Young people believed that politicians did not have their best interest at heart, yet Corbyn became really popular as he brought hope and was seen as someone they could trust or someone that was human. 

He clearly didn’t want to get into power. He spoke about things he cared about because he had nothing to lose. He just wanted to broaden the debate – and suddenly people felt like someone was being honest for the first time.
— The Guardian,

In 2017 Theresa May delivered a dramatic announcement, a true spectacle with spotlights and hovering helicopters, in which she called for a "snap" election. This action, which contradicted her previous promises, really angered people as they saw it as a sly move to get rid of JC who, continuously demonised in press, was gaining popularity particularly with young people. With endorsements from celebrities and artists, labour mobilised for seven weeks of intense political campaign which didn't bring victory, nonetheless delivered great results.    

JC had turned a youth surge into general election votes by appealing to a generation that came of age during the financial crisis. (The Guardian) The Labour election success was attributed to the insurgence of youth and their collective actions were dubbed as 'youthquake'. (Oxford Dictionaries)

However, in early 2018 the British Election Study announced that 'youthquake' election was a "myth" and that it was not the youth that helped Jeremy Corbyn deliver such good results. This statement diminished the prominence of the movement and didn't sit well with many as it was reminiscent of 'post-truth' soundbites (if we keep saying it, people will start believing it), which is what happened in this case. The analysis of the data gathered in the national face-to-face survey shows that this claim is not only 'thin', but certainly fails to represent the electorate. 

The word ‘apathy’ is thrown at young people when really they feel they are not represented. Jeremy and this manifesto really cut through. Young people saw tuition fees, investment in social care, housing, education – a vision for society that they believed in and that they would benefit from.”(The Guardian)