Image by Sam Taylor
As a Nottingham lass who’s never voted, I want to be wooed by a socialist hero with real oak in his penis. Ed, where are you? I know you're not the one who was bullied at school. Now, more than ever, Britain and British politics is in desperate need of your timber.
There are many coalition policies coming out at the moment that benefit various groups of people – bankers, old farts, bingo enthusiasts – but very little to help anyone under 30. I’m like a left-wing think tank me, Ed – and I think you're missing a golden opportunity to show the young people of this country that you have some lead in that pencil of yours. You were impressively virile when challenging the Mail, for example, and you really got me going when you took on the "Big Six" energy companies. Phwoar! Energy reform!
I know you’ve got some good, solid policies just waiting to pop up and delight millions of young people up and down the country. You don’t need me to tell you that in the last General Election less than half of 18-to-24-year-olds voted but I thought you might want to know a few things that would encourage a common slag like me to vote next time round.
I basically speak on behalf of everyone under 30 – so, here's my eight-step plan to make young Brits fall in love with you.
#1 – RADICAL ACTION ON THE ENVIRONMENT
It’s wonderful that George Osborne is freeing up pensions so that old people can go wild spending their money on cardigans.
NASA and various respected scientific institutions now seem to think that rampant social inequality and the plundering of the earth’s resources mean that human civilisation is doomed. George Osborne isn’t going to do a damn thing about bankers and the other white-collars getting rich at the expense of the rest of us and our shared planet. On the contrary, those are precisely the sorts of people he wants to help. We need an eco warrior, Ed. Can you be our Captain Planet?
#2 – ROB THE RICH TO FEED THE POOR
How about backing the Robin Hood Tax? Instead of a referendum on EU membership (which most young people don't want because, err, Europe is just that part of the UK where you go clubbing in the summer), how about backing a referendum on limiting the pay of top executives? It may sound "loony left" to you but, as Matthew Lynn writes: "The gap between what the people running companies and the people working for them earn has exploded. And yet there is very little evidence that companies are better run, or more productive, or make more money for their shareholders, as a result."
Everybody is happier in a more equal society and everybody except a few mean old Tories like the idea, so why not make redistributing wealth a priority? As Owen Jones points out, even UKIP back “a substantial increase in the minimum wage”. In the league table of happy countries, Britain came 22nd – behind Mexico, where several thousand people die each year in a massive drugs war.
#3 – SCRAP TUITION FEES
The Tories refuse to rule out another rise in tuition fees and it makes no difference what the Lib Dems say, as no one’s going to trust them on this issue after they broke their promise last time. It might cost money but the new system isn’t saving anyone anything any more by the looks of it, and could actually end up costing the public coffers more in the long run. So let's make university free again.
#4 – CREATE JOBS
Going to university is great if you want significant student debt, liver damage and relationship baggage, but will it get you a job? If you're lucky. I like Labour’s plans to offer out-of-work young people jobs. I’ve also heard the criticisms – that people won’t be able to choose what job they do, or opt out – but overall I think it’s a winner. None of the other parties have come close to addressing the fact that there are no jobs or very few that pay well for inexperienced workers. Millennials can’t look after the selfish generations above us if we’re still struggling away in unpaid internships in our late twenties, with no chance of buying a home for decades. Speaking of which…
#5 – BUILD MORE HOUSES
Recently I’ve increasingly found myself gawping at those awful ViralNova picture stories about people making houses out of empty coke cans and dog shit. As cosy as those dogshit dens look, let’s face it, we need bricks and mortar. I know that providing more homes runs the risk of upsetting all the old folk and Mail readers by lowering house prices but unless they are offering to take us young 'uns in and give us somewhere to fuck around and get smashed, they can all sod off. People under 30 need somewhere affordable to live. Now.
#6 – MAKE VOTING EASIER
Forms make me want to die. Ed, they’re soooooo boring – can you ban them? I’ve heard some people urging youngsters to go and spoil their ballot papers if they don’t feel there’s anything worth voting for, but who the fuck has got time for that? No one, that’s who. In the days of yore, before streaming, me and my best mate at uni once downloaded a film on our laptops rather than go downstairs to get the DVD. So in that context, this polling business and counting bits of paper looks like a massive waste of time that could be better spent watching Netflix or wanking.
#7 – ED, IT’S NOT THE 70S ANY MORE AND BASICALLY EVERYONE DOES EVERYTHING ON THE INTERNET NOW
Seriously. If those of us who actually have some money can do secure banking on the internet, we can vote on the internet. The internet is basically everything and we won’t believe you if you say there’s something it can’t do. So get your tech people on it?
#8 – DROP PRESCRIPTION CHARGES IN ENGLAND
I couldn’t believe it when I found out people were using food banks in this country. We’re meant to be a rich nation but some people are sitting at home feeling hungry because they can’t afford to buy food. Do you know how skint you have to be unable to afford food? It means you don’t even have a pound to buy a cheap loaf of bread and a budget tin of beans. So if you’re that broke, are you really going to have money to pay for all the medicines you might need, at £8 a pop?
It’s true that people on benefits don’t pay for prescriptions. But what about people who are actually trying to work and aren’t getting paid a living wage – so every penny they have goes on the absolutely urgent essentials? Medicine is free for students aged 16-18 but what about people who’ve made the commitment to go to university, people who presumably want to work one day – why should they have to pay for medicine? Just give people in England medicine as and when they need it – as they do in Scotland, Wales and the rest of the UK. I suspect, in the long run, it will save the NHS and society money anyway. And yes, I do keep talking about the long run. Why?
Because young people are going to be around for it.
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Ed, like most people, I’m no expert on politics or economics – I came up with these suggestions sitting in Boots, on a comedown, waiting for my prescription, which I have to effing pay for – but that’s kind of the point. I don’t know how we pay for all this stuff. You’re the politician, you work it out. The government found money for the Olympics and the Royal Wedding and Trident and flood damage and that time the Pope came to visit; there’s always money for all that old shit, so I’m sure we can scrape together a bit of cash to invest in a future for the, err, future of this country – young people.
The Tories claim we’re all in this together. Ed, if that’s true, when you get elected off the back of an unprecedented youth vote, possibly because of this article, tell the Queen the rest of us are a bit skint and ask her to sell a vase or something. As the late, great Labour hero Tony Benn put it: "If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people."
Just putting it out there.