Vince: Don’t let older generations impose their prejudices on young people

Vince did an interview last week that I expect he enjoyed more than most. The interviewer wasn’t Eddie Mair, or Andrew Neil, but his grandson Ayrton. As an ambassador for the I Will campaign , which aims to engage young people in social action, he took the chance to interview his Grandad.

Vince has always been pretty robust about how the older generation has shafted young people. He talked about how important it is for young people to get involved, engaged and to get out and vote.

Watch the video here:

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • David Raw
    It is quite odd, especially considering he’s no spring chicken and was in government. It sort of reminds me of Timothy Leary saying never trust anyone over 30 years old when he was in is 40s!

  • @David Raw – I agree, particularly given the research done directly after the referendum (which was dissected here on LDV at the time) indicated a couple of demographics in which “the majority” voted Leave, but in all cases the margin was small 1~3%. Vince’s rhetoric would have you think the “older Generation” voted overwhelmingly for Leave…

  • Lorenzo Cherin 20th Nov '18 - 12:58pm

    I disagree with Sir Vince and support David Raw herein. Divisive statements do not appeal to the people this party and any need to.

    Corbyn, man of flaws, has some things he gets right. He appeals to young people by talking to and about them and the best interests for them, not against older people and deciding for them what is best.

    Because you like the EU does not force an old person to think it best for the young. Maybe they do not want some of what has happened, large scale immigration, ongoing cuts, housing crisis, lousy services, for the next generation.

    The party has overdone Brexit. The public are not responding enough.

    Sorry, but the jibes against moderation are ironically, mistaken. On Brexit, and it’s related issues, like or loathe him, or much in between, Corbyn is the one who is moderate.

  • Peter Watson 20th Nov '18 - 3:03pm

    Dj Pocock “I think it is more a class thing in my experience”
    I agree, but I get the impression from some posts on this site that many Remain supporters are more interested in changing demographics than changing minds so they prefer to think about the aged Brexiters rather than the working class Brexiters who aren’t dying off quickly enough for their liking! 🙁

  • paul barker 20th Nov '18 - 4:26pm

    Perhaps LDV should reprint some of the Research on the Demographics of the Leave Vote.
    My recollection is that the strongest factor was the size of the Town voters live in, smaller = Leave.
    After that came Age & Education.
    If by Class we mean Income levels then the influence was weak & complex. I would much rather define Class by what voters say they are but I dont think anybody asked that in relation to Leave/Stay.

  • Brexit was not caused by class or age. If you look at a map, Brexit seems to be mostly a suburban, rural, coastal, English and small c conservative thing. I suspect that this is because the city centric view of Britain favoured by the remain camp is not actually that appealing. More people live out in the sticks than in urban areas and when they go into anyone of our cities or towns what a lot of them see is a an ugly dump with a lot of social problems. The desire not live in cities is why virtually all the house building is in rural areas. It’s a clash of values caused by the disparity between the hype of brand Britain and what it actually looks like.

  • I agree with the previous comments and really do wish that Vince and others would cease this line of attack. It is socially irresponsible for Lib Dems or other “liberals” to actively encourage inter-generational conflict as an argument against Brexit; it is simply wrong to suggest that the values and interests of the old and the young are necessarily in conflict. Instead of alienating people in this way, we should be seeking to build bridges – in order to properly understand why Leavers (whatever their age) voted as they did and to address their legitimate and strongly felt concerns, rather than dismissing whole sections of the electorate as “ignorant” and/or “prejudiced”.

    If the Remain cause is to win any ‘People’s Vote’ (which may ultimately be secured following the almost certain rejection of the Government’s current “deal” by the House of Commons), we will need to present a much more positive and inspiring campaign than in 2016 – by all means, let’s target our appeal to younger voters and other more “progressive” types who may be more naturally sympathetic to the ‘Remain’ message, but not at the expense of denigrating and demonising the old.

  • David Becket 20th Nov '18 - 7:16pm

    I am 82, Vince does not speak for me, and his continued attack on older people will do the party more harm than good. Add to this his concentration on party organisation at this critical time is also not helpful.
    Vince, get with the real world and stop dividing generations

  • We could of cause bring some facts into this debate

    The referendum vote revealed huge differences in voting intentions by age, class, education level and ethnicity …..
    Younger, more middle class, more educated and BME voters chose to remain; older, working class, less educated and white voters opted to leave……
    Age and class both have an effect on people’s views. A majority of 18-34 year olds in every social class voted to remain, while a majority of those aged 55+ in every class voted to leave. But within each age group the middle-classes were more likely to vote to remain, and the working classes more likely to vote to leave, and within each class younger people were more likely to vote remain, and older people more likely to vote to leave. The crossover point was among the middle-aged: middle-class 35-54 year olds voted to stay, working class 35-54 year olds voted to leave….

    People in work (full or part time, public sector or private sector), students, mortgage holders and private renters voted to remain. Those who own their home outright, social renters, the retired and those looking after homes all voted to leave…

  • The most dramatic split is along the lines of education. 70% of voters whose educational attainment is only GCSE or lower voted to Leave, while 68% of voters with a university degree voted to Remain in the EU. Those with A levels and no degree were evenly split, 50% to 50%.

    Age is the other great fault line. Under-25s were more than twice as likely to vote Remain (71%) than Leave (29%). Among over-65s the picture is almost the exact opposite, as 64% of over-65s voted to Leave while only 36% voted to Remain. Among the other age groups, voters aged 24 to 49 narrowly opted for Remain (54%) over leave (46%) while 60% of voters between the ages of 50 and 64 went for Leave.

    Looking at the figures the two theme running through the studies are, age and education. The older you are the more likely you are to have voted leave, the earlier you left education and again you are more likely to have voted leave. Personally I think age is the great predictor and unfortunately (like it or not) if the older generation has voted for something you feel passionately about as a younger voter you are unlikely to think kindly about them. Brexit isn’t the only (or even the main) driver of generational strife, it is the feeling that the older generation got everything and the young get nothing.

  • Sean Hyland 20th Nov '18 - 8:24pm

    Many thanks frankie for the links . Hopefully a campaign for a Peoples Vote or second referendum can be built on more than this though. There still seem to be some who believe all you have to do is wait until enough older people have died off – then if you can persuade enough newly come of age voters to actually turn out to vote then all will be fine and dandy.

    Like you I don’t believe in unicorns,fairy dust, and rainbows. I would like to see a more positive campaign to remain that recognises any areas that may need reform in the EU alongside its accomplishments.

    I welcome the chance for a Peoples Vote.

  • Personally Sean I’d push the uncomfortable fact that the problems of this country are not the fault of the EU but a failure of UK polticians and UK structures. We have too many polticians with a feeble grasp of reality, an overblown sense of entitlement and superiority. Our state needs radical reform, while all we get is upper class posh boys (and the occasional posh girl) pontificating on what should be done ( without doing it) and expecting the poor to carry the crippling load of bad government decsions. They have no skin in this game and no concept of what failure actually means to an ordinary person. If they fail in politics, well a well paid job as a pundit, a job in PR or a vice president of some firm that wishes to invest in a fig leaf is the worst that can happen too them.

  • Sean Hyland 20th Nov '18 - 9:18pm

    frankie -agreed

  • Sean Hyland 20th Nov '18 - 9:19pm

    frankie -never too late. Had a senior nurse role in NHS till disability got in the way. Presently mature student doing a BA in Economics.

  • Sean,
    Perhaps one day after the work has died down and the children have sailed away. Till then I’m afraid tis “Chop, Chop, Busy, Busy, Work, Work, Bang, Bang”. Best of luck with the degree.

  • As an oldie I remember the war. I also remember Acheson describing my country as having “lost an empire and failed to find a role”. I also remember the “sick man of Europe” label. I am amazed that voters of my generation voted for a return to those good old days. Furthermore my generation enjoyed a quality of life, wok opportunities, mortgages subsidised, final salary pensions which huge numbers of our young people are currently denied. I can only conclude that my fellow oldies leared self-interest in the Thatcher years.

  • Brian
    As an older person can you tell me if it’s true that the 3 day week, the winter of discontent, high inflation, loss of productivity, the IMF crisis, deindustrialization and the huge increase in unemployment actually happened after joining the common market?
    I’m not entirely sure, but that’s what the dates and stats seem to suggest.

  • David
    Thank you. I was actually just wondering why the worst of these problems are dragged up by pro EU advocates as examples of life outside of the union when the dates suggest they actually occurred whilst in the common market! My point being that the European era has not really been much of a success, did zilch to reverse economic problems and certainly did not prevent the worst excesses of right wing economics. To be honest, the more I look at, the more I suspect Eurosceptic Left might have been right at the start. To me the EU is actually like FIFA or the board of that well know soft drink firm that wanted to teach the world to sing by promoting tooth decay and type 2 diabetes . As a leave liberal what I believe in is localism and the gradual withdrawal from the delusions of Britain as a world shaping power. I want a nation that is more like Norway or New Zealand, smaller and more concentrated.

  • Vince could do with using more positive language. Voters tend to vote because they believe they are doing something positive. Describing people who have switched from Brexit to Remain as “Heroes” is good. Urging younger people to vote to spite older people is not good.

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