Listen again: How can Labour win back older voters?

Lucy Snow

As part of the Fabian Fringe, we brought together Caroline Flint MP, Caroline Abrahams of Age UK, Andrew Harrop and YouGov’s Peter Kellner to discuss how Labour can regain trust among older voters. Catch up on what was said below, or read our Storify here.

1 comment:

  1. Mike Curtis

    At 68 I fall well within this category, as do most of my friends. We are perhaps not representative since we are mostly strongly in favour of Jeremy Corbyn and his approach, but I suppose these clever people who tell us what we really want must be right! Casting my net somewhat wider outside my immediate circle, I find that older people, if they must be considered separately, are worried about the state of society and the direction in which it is heading. While there are some “silver surfers” who do make use of modern technology, most do not, or at least not as much as they could. They are being left behind by the rapid changes in technology with the effect that this has on society at large. There are so many ways in which technology can help, from online shopping, social media and using skype (other video phone utilities are available) to keep in contact with far-flung families, through to the tremendous advances in medicine that promise a longer, more fulfilling and disease-free life, even to those of my age let alone our children and grandchildren. These messages of hope get buried beneath the reams of statistics, the universal concern about money and the torrent of distressing news from all over the world. Unsurprisingly this can manifest itself as resistance to change and a hankering for a past which has gone the way of all other pasts. The natural beneficiaries of this are the Conservatives, the clue is in the name, who are clever enough to provide enough money to alleviate that worry and promote the message that everything will be all right, just leave it to them to take care of everything.

    The Labour Movement needs to provide a clear vision; change is inevitable but with help everybody can not only cope with it but understand and enjoy the benefits that can accrue from the new technologies. Leaving it to the Tories may mean that they will continue to be bought off for their votes, but the benefits of new technology will go to the rich with just the merest trickle down to the rest of us. The message must be one of hope, a decent standard of life through an extended old age for them, and a better world for their children and grandchildren. Detailed low-level policies do not matter, certainly not this far from a General Election, but we must convey the message that we are prepared to tackle the big issues of climate change, the obscene gap in both money and technology between rich and poor and the wars that ravage so much of the globe. We must include everyone, democracy is no longer just a beauty contest every five years then let them get on with it. Everyone, particularly the old people with their experience must be involved, that is directly involved at every stage not just someone asking a few questions to a small number of people occasionally followed later by pronouncements from on high claiming that there has been a “consultation”.

    Jeremy Corbyn has given hints that this is the direction in which he would like to travel. It is entirely unreasonable for those here, both on the panel and in the audience, who are openly trying to question his leadership or urge his removal after such a short time. He must be given the chance with the support of everybody, whatever part of the party they claim to be from. Together we have a good chance of making something worthwhile that we can all contribute to and be proud of. Let us forego the sniping and jockeying for position and make that effort. If we give it our best shot and it fails then so be it; if it fails because there are some trying to undermine it from the start then it could be catastrophic for democracy, party unity and a gift to our enemies.

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