Here's where young people in Liverpool stand on UK politics
On the final day of the Labour party conference, we took to the streets to hear what Gen Z had to say...
image Jake Millers
words Ella Glover
Last week, the Labour Party held its annual conference in Liverpool City Centre.
Among bold announcements, such as the party’s commitment to a publicised Great British Energy company and a mortgage guarantee for 70% of first-time buyers to help more people get onto the housing ladder, the city saw rallies from the likes of cost of living campaigners Enough is Enough and talks from left-wing groups and activists in the annual The World Transformed politics and culture festival.
The city, which has been a Labour stronghold for the better part of the last 60 years, felt lively, hopeful and radical as ever. But the political landscape has changed massively in the last five years. While the 2017 and 2019 general elections saw students and young people more buoyed by hope than ever, finally feeling like they had a political party that represented them and their needs, we had to wonder: following three consecutive lockdowns thanks to the pandemic and a completely new government, was that hope still there, or has disenfranchisement taken its hold?
To find out what young people were thinking, WOO headed to Liverpool’s knowledge quarter on the last day of the Labour Party Conference to find out where young people stand on today’s politics.
In the UK, politics has swayed to a point where it's between two parties that don't represent the people. The Labour Party masquerades as the people's party, but Keir Starmer is, honestly, a dickhead.
He's just not someone that I feel represented by, and I'm sure a lot of other people don't feel represented by him. I'm personally not working class, but I am a person of colour, and I need some sort of representation in Parliament. And whilst there are people of colour in Parliament, they don't really hold the views that are going to help not only my people, but people who struggle all across the board.
I just feel like politics right now is so convoluted and the discussions are disappointing, especially at the top now. I feel like everything is geared towards the one percent. Within uni and student circles, the discussions are quite riveting and quite important, but they’re just not being heard enough. There's some really good ideas and really good, practical plans that people come up with that should be implemented, but we're not given a voice.
From what I hear and see, UK politics is in a bit of a state at the moment. Things aren't looking good. I'm not really a fan of the Tories, anyway, so even if things were looking good, I still wouldn't like them being in power. However, I feel like Labour is just not what it says it is. Usually you think they’d be left-leaning, but they've moved further and further to the centre and are shifting to the right. I think they're doing that to appeal to a wider base, but by doing that they're losing their original base.
I'm not sure about the current unemployment figures for young people, but I doubt they’re very good. Plus, the price of tuition is unbelievable and they're not doing anything to cut it down. In the next few years, it will probably go up – I think those are really important issues that need tackling.
The cost of living crisis is also really difficult for people. Our politicians do a lot of talking – they talk and talk and talk – but they just never do anything to change things and I don't see the situation getting any better.
I've always followed politics, but recently I’ve stopped because it's so depressing that I just can't focus my energy on what the government's latest scandal is when I've got uni work to do.
I did manage to watch a bit of Starmer's conference speech yesterday, and it's the first time I've seen him so triumphant that it felt convincing. The new New Labour has its problems, but nowhere near as many as the Conservative Party. In 2019, I voted for Corbyn because he spoke to my generation and was the first politician I'd ever known who was actually addressing the problems of young people. Starmer’s Labour Party is not promising the same things for young people that Corbyn was but it is a promise of moving away from the constant bewilderment, scandals and toxicity of the current government.
Right now, at this very moment, the most important issue in politics is leadership. We can't solve any problems right now because the leadership in charge of the country is so incompetent and lacking of any ideas of how to improve things that everything is at a deadlock.
We need politicians who have ideas about how things can be better, not just how they can extract more money from the working and middle classes and transfer it to their upper class friends, which literally seems like the only sole purpose of the Conservative Party today.
While I don’t really know what Keir Starmer stands for, I probably will vote Labour in the next election. I would think about voting for other parties, but it feels like a wasted vote considering this country basically has a two-party system.
For me to definitively want to vote Labour, I’d want them to become the party people expect them to be and actually start caring for working class people. But Corbyn’s Labour was too extreme for people at the time, which is [the party has shifted] with Starmer.
I think that climate change is the biggest issue facing my generation because if we don’t solve it, we’ll crumble and die. However if we can’t afford a basic existence on even a dilapidating planet, then fighting for a living wage and improved standard of living is of utmost importance, too.
Politics in the UK is definitely getting worse, and it didn't really start off at a good point. There’s the cost of living crisis, the economy is going to hell, and every day you wake up and see news saying that young people today are never going to own their own homes.
For me, everything comes back to education. If we had an incredible, wonderful, flaw-free education system, it would really solve a lot of issues. All the issues we have, from prejudice to financial problems, come back to education. Right now, the education system is underfunded and the people who do care about it, can't care about it, because they don't have the time or the money.
I also think there are too many older people in politics and not enough young people. There's not enough people who either understand or care about what young people are actually living through. So much has changed in such a short space of time that people who are over 50 just don't get it.
It's all very out of touch. I'd like to think it is incompetence but I don't really think it is, I think it's politicians not caring about the people that they are supposed to protect.