Room: 
Ferrier Hall
Time Slot: 
Tuesday 27th March 15:30 - 17:00
Panel Chair: 
  • Dr James Sloam (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Panel Members: 
  • Dr Sarah Pickard (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3)
  • Dr Stuart Fox (Cardiff University)
  • Mr James Cathcart (Young Voices Heard)

In 2017 we witnessed a surge in youth turnout in the June general election. Younger cohorts voted at a rate not seen since the early 1990s. And, young voters overwhelmingly voted for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. The gap in support between the Labour and Conservative parties amongst 18 to 24-year olds was larger than at any election over the past 40 years. The papers in this panel investigate the reasons for these dramatic events, and their implications for British democracy. The first paper (Pickard) focusses on the success of the Labour Party (and failure of the other parties) in garnering the votes of young people. In particularly, it examines how party allegiance was determined by push and pull factors relating to the people, policies and communication strategies of the main political parties. The second paper (Fox) addresses the large increase in youth turnout in 2017, examining the extent to which this was due to the specific circumstances (e.g. Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn) or represents the arrival of a new generation of politicized voters (shaped by austerity and in opposition to the rise in authoritarian-nationalist forms of populism). The penultimate paper (Bowman) looks at how the 2017 election has changed the way our national political discourse understands the role of young people in our democracy. It illustrates – through case studies – how young people were motivated by underlying moral perspectives that tallied with the perceived authenticity of Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. The final paper (Cathcart) explores what lessons can be learnt from the increased youth voter engagement and proposes an agenda of reforms to sustain an ongoing relationship, not just in the run up to a General Election. 

​Paper 1: People, policies and communication: Examining ‘Corbynmania’ among young voters through electoral push and pull factors (Sarah Pickard, Sorbonne)

Paper 2: Did the 2017 ‘youthquake’ Herald the Emergence of a New Political Generation? (Stuart Fox, Cardiff)

Paper 4: Democracy is a Dialogue Not Just An Election. A New Reform Agenda for Youth Engagement (James Cathcart, Young Voices Heard)