June 9, 2017

Angry young upset British election

Bloomberg - Angry youth was always going to be a wildcard in this election, and it might just have helped cause yet another upset in Britain.

The political upheaval since the country voted to leave the European Union last year stems from the fault lines across the country that Prime Minister Theresa May misread and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appears to have understood.

Brexit, along with spending cuts and paying for pensions, pitted the generations against each other. Young once apathetic Britons rallied behind Corbyn’s leftist battle cry and propelled the anti-May anthem “Liar, Liar” to the top of the pop charts with 2.6 million YouTube views.

“I wanted to see Theresa May get a bit of a kicking,” said George Hames, 20, who voted for Labour in London. “The way Corbyn has been able to paint a contrast between himself and May: He’s given people something to vote for, not just pragmatically, but because they think it can change the world.”

Corbyn, who now backs Brexit, has nurtured a cult-like following by taking his party back to its socialist roots and -- so people thought -- away from any chance of power. He promised what he called politics for the people and had a buoyant campaign that surprised allies and foes alike. May, meanwhile, floundered.

Thousands lined the streets outside Corbyn’s final rally at the Union Chapel in North London, with supporters inside the building dancing as they waited for their 68-year-old gray bearded leader. The party atmosphere was a stark contrast to May’s final speech -- a short address in the basement of a conference center in Meriden, central England.

To loud cheers and foot-stamping from his supporters, Corbyn defined his vision for Labour, driven by “hope that we can stand up to the elite and to the cynics.”

Amy Grant, a 28-year-old actress and Labour supporter, said she had never attended political rallies before Corbyn. "He’s the only politician who speaks for my generation," she said. "He’s the only one who doesn’t perform -- he says what he thinks." Getting Out

In a telling reaction, more U.K. millennials tried to register to vote ahead of the general election than before the Brexit referendum. About 2 million people 34 or under attempted to sign up in the five weeks before the May 22 registration deadline, up 20 percent on the comparable period before the EU vote, U.K. government data showed.

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