Can The Conservatives Win Over Young People with A Discount Card?

Amy Walker
By offering discounts at various retail and restaurant outlets with membership cards, The Conservatives could discount their way into the hearts of Britain’s young voters.

While it may have been proved that there was no huge surge in youth turnout in last year’s general election, it’s no secret that Labour under Jeremy Corbyn is popular among young people. For added testimony, go watch the videos of thousands of them chanting “oh, Jeremy Corbyn” at every festival and student club night last summer.

It’s also true that the Conservatives had their government majority wiped out and have since been trying to slide their way into the figurative dm’s of under 30s with various policy proposals. Thus far, we’ve been promised speculative millennial railcards, extra money for the help-to-buy scheme and indignant letters to those who continue to utilise unpaid interns illegally.

The Tories are still out of the loop when it comes to the memes that apparently aided Labour (alongside progressive policies) in generating literal whooping choruses of support, but, now, they’ve finally devolved their own humble ploy to trick young people into thinking that politics is cool.       

On Sunday, The Times revealed that Tory HQ was considering offering discounts at high-street restaurants such as Nando’s when young people sign up for a membership card.  Because, after all, outside of T’internet, what do young people really want? Cheap chicken meals of course.

Nando’s may already have thrown shade on the idea, stating that the brand has “no political affiliation”, but if others got on board, could the Tories really win over the youth with say: 10% off Gregg’s sausage rolls?

Theresa May eating some chips in cornwall. Photo via Daily Motion

Yes, give us all the discount we can get

First things first, if we’re going to go down this route – discount these days isn’t something to scoff at.

For many young people, up to their ears in student debt – also a gift from the Tories who tripled fees in 2012 – once the cashier at McDonald’s starts clocking onto the fact their student card expired approx three years ago, it’s sad, sad times. It’s not just those who went to uni who could do with a free McFlurry to perk up every now and again either – one in three of Britain’s millennial generation will never own their own home and half will still be renting into middle-age.  

So, while JC bangs on about “rental control”, the Tories could be onto something here – young people are very, very susceptible to any discount they can get. Although, a free a piece of avocado toast with every flat white from Pret might be an even greater incentive. Young people love freebies. Look how many fell in love with Labour when they offered to abolish tuition fees.

Secondly, what do the other main political parties in this country offer as a reward with their membership cards, I ask you?

Absolutely nothing (aside from the chance to go to party meetings, elect leaders and play a role in the policy process). Oh, and banter. Click on Labour’s new membership hub on their website and you’ll be led to a page which quips: “Just like the Tories’ plan for Britain, this page doesn’t exist.”

A spicy Nandos. Photo by Su–May

Maybe focus on policy

If anecdotes of young Tories hiding their political beliefs at uni to avoid been pelted with empty cans of Strongbow dark fruits don’t suffice as proof, then numbers show how uncool it is to be a Tory right now. The age of the average Conservative party member is 72.

And, when you also take into account the fact that wellbeing for young people is at the lowest point it has been in the years since the Tories have been in government, it seems unlikely that they’ll be flocking to sign up anytime soon.  

Then there are the reasons why young people are so bloody miserable right now which can almost, without question, be pinned on Conservative policies.

removing £1.82 from their restaurant bill is unfortunately not going to take away the extortionate university fees, abolished tuition grants, higher retirement age, diminishing government housing and depleted funds for the NHS which young people have to deal with.

Somehow, I reckon the Tories hadn’t really thought this all out when they thought a ¼ chicken could wing it.


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