ON MONDAY, the Conservative think-tank Onward published a report into generational voting patterns, policy priorities and political values.
The report considers why age has become the key dividing line in British politics, what has happened since the last general election, and what can be done to win over millions of younger people deserting the centre-right in considerable numbers.
The report follows a detailed 10,000 sample poll, conducted by Hanbury Strategy. It is the largest study of the generation gap since age became the key political dividing line in British politics.
Younger and older voters have always been politically different, but never by this much
In 2017, the gap between younger and older voters was 50 points larger than the post-war average since 1945 and five times higher than in 2010. It started, in 2015 before Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn became the leader of the Labour Party. This gap has grown, not narrowed, since the last General Election.
In 2017, “the tipping point age” – the median age at which a voter is more likely to vote Conservative than Labour – was 47 years old. The report establishes that, since the election, “the tipping point” has risen by 4 years to 51 years old.
The Conservative age curve is getting steeper. Among 18–24-year-olds, 14% said they would vote Conservative if there was an election today. 62% said they would vote Labour. 9% of this group said they would vote for the Liberal Democrats.
Among those over 65 years old, the opposite was true, 56% of respondents said they would vote Conservative, against 24% for Labour. The only groups with a net positive vote for Conservatives are 55–64s and voters over the age of 65.
Projecting the results of the survey forward to 2022 shows that the Conservatives face a wipeout in Wales.
If age continues to be a predictor of vote intention, the Conservatives are also in trouble in London. For example, Putney, which has a majority of just 3.3%, has 2.6 younger people for every older person. Other Conservative seats potentially affected by the demographic shift include the Cities of London and Westminster, Hendon, Chelsea and Fulham, and Uxbridge and South Ruislip (currently held by would-be PM Boris Johnson).
According to Onward, the dissonance between different age groups largely down to the Conservatives’ failure to win over younger voters. 28% of under-35s would consider voting Conservative, but fewer than 17% say they would do so if an election were held today. Onward says that this amounts to 3 million voters young Conservative considerers which could be won over but currently would not vote for the party.
Polling among the younger age group suggests that on some policies, the Conservatives could be knocking on an open door. 18-24s are most in favour (63%) of keeping more of their own money and paying less tax. However, they also favour making the economy fairer, not just bigger. Nearly two-thirds of people favour “reducing the gap between rich and poor” over “working to create faster economic growth”, with 18-24s most in favour (67%).
On immigration, there is net support for reducing immigration in every age bracket, within every ethnic group, and among Remain voters.
In terms of priorities, the environment is the third top issue for 18-24-year-old voters and younger voters.
Notably, immigration is of far lesser importance to younger voters than older ones, a reverse of the position on welfare benefits, about which older voters are far less exercised. All age groups regard the NHS and Brexit as the top two priorities.
A disconcerting gap is rising in the Conservatives’ appeal to female voters. Only 8% of 18-24-year-old women would vote Conservative today, which correlates heavily with pessimism: 56% of women think the next generation will be worse off than their own. Meanwhile, Asian voters (42%) are nearly as likely to consider voting Conservative as White voters (44%), but only half as many would do so today.
Committee queries WG priorities
A SENEDD Committee has questioned the legislative priorities of the Welsh Government on animal welfare.
The majority of members of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee support
A proposal from the Welsh Government to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in Wales. However, the Committee has questioned why a ban on the practice should be prioritised over a range of pressing animal welfare issues, such as ‘puppy farming’.
Despite a series of scandals regarding the activities of licensed and unlicensed dog-breeders over many years, the Welsh Government has failed to take any action to curb puppy-farming and cut the amount of funding available to local authorities to enforce the existing law on dog breeding. By comparison, circuses are ‘a soft target’ for legislation, as so few perform in Wales.
Currently there no Welsh circuses with wild animals in operation but circuses from other countries do visit and can legally use wild animals in their acts.
The ban will affect only two UK travelling circuses which own a total of 19 wild animals.
The Bill applies only to wild, not domesticated, animals; it applies to travelling, but not static, circuses. Animals exhibited for entertainment purposes in settings other than travelling circuses will not be banned but will be regulated.
The Committee says it is unanimous in its continued support for the welfare of all animals but had not been able to come to a unanimous view on whether this Bill should proceed. As the majority of Committee members supported the Bill, it would recommend that the Assembly agrees the general principles of the Bill.
In its scrutiny of the proposed legislation, the Committee held a public consultation as well as hearing evidence from circuses, animal welfare organisations and the Welsh Government.
Chair of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee, Mike Hedges AM said: “The use of wild animals in travelling circuses is an emotive issue. The Committee heard compelling arguments from both sides of the debate about the rights and wrongs of this practice.
“The fact that the Welsh Government has introduced the Bill on ethical grounds has raised some challenging questions, such as why is it ethically acceptable for wild animals to perform in other settings but not in circuses? Why is it ethically acceptable for domesticated animals to perform in circuses? Should any animal be expected to perform purely for entertainment?
“The Welsh Government has yet to answer some of these questions. We expect it to do so if the Bill progresses. While the Committee’s view on whether the Bill should proceed is not unanimous, a majority of Members support the Bill.”
Locals praise new cash machine in Llandovery
COUNTY Councillor for Llandovery, Handel Davies has praised the work of Mr & Mrs John and Laura Morgan who have installed a new cash machine at the Post Office in Llandovery.
The couple opened the new ‘Ystrad at The Bank’ post office in Llandovery in November last year following the closure of the former Post Office earlier in 2018.
Then in June of this year, Barclays Bank dropped another bombshell on the town when they announced the closure of the last remaining bank in the town and with it went the 24/7 cashpoint (ATM) facility.
The newly opened cash machine will provide a 24/7 service.
Plaid Cymru County Councillor for Llandovery, Handel Davies said: “I have nothing but admiration and respect for John & Laura. Having settled to live in the area only recently, in which time not only have they quickly established a thriving business at Ystrad Nursery and Agricultural Supplies on the A40 outskirts of Llandovery, but they have also demonstrated their amazing social conscience by personally reacting to the potentially devastating impact resulting from the Post Office and Barclays Bank closures upon the town.
“Showing remarkable concern for this injustice to the local community John and Laura once again stepped in when they decided to submit a planning application for a new ATM at the new Post Office. Believing this would be a relatively straightforward process, it unfortunately proved anything but the case. However, thankfully, almost a year from the day that the new Post Office was opened, the new ATM has finally been installed.”
Pension Partnership announces ambitious new responsible investment policy
THE WALES Pension Partnership (‘WPP’), the pooling entity for the eight Welsh LGPS Funds, has announced a new Responsible Investment (‘RI’) policy, highlighting its commitment to responsible investment and desire to be a leader in this area.
The new overarching policy was developed collaboratively by the WPP and its eight Constituent Authorities* and will be adopted by them all. At the same time, it will allow individual Constituent Authorities to maintain and develop their own RI policies.
Commenting on the development of the new RI policy, Chris Moore, Director of Corporate Services from the WPP Host Authority, says:
“Responsible investment policies are vitally important not only to the administration of our funds but to the future of Wales. We recognised how crucial it was for the WPP to establish its own responsible investment policy and aimed to ensure that all stakeholders of the WPP were represented in the policy’s development. Building support and gaining consensus among the Constituent Authorities was imperative. We needed to be sure that the policy was representative of the broad range of investment beliefs within the Pool. We are thrilled to have agreement on a policy that can now be implemented on behalf of the underlying Constituent Authorities. We are all highly committed to seeing this new ambitious RI Policy succeed.”
In its new RI policy, the WPP has agreed to prioritise a number of actions over the next 12 months, including developing a specific climate risk policy and engaging with its investment managers to develop an appropriate set of RI monitoring metrics.
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