Why we need Millennials in Parliament

Parliament: where are the young people? Source: al_si (via Pixabay)

By Anthony Stonestreet

Defined by the OED as “a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century”, “Millennials” are everywhere. They prefer to watch films online rather than rent DVDs. They apparently “refuse” to climb the property ladder. One recent study even showed that 29% of them even shun alcohol. So who are these barbaric, merciless, teetotal beasts? This may not be a surprise, but, chances are, you are one.

As you progress through life, it’s only natural that you, your friends and colleagues roughly fit in the same age bracket. One notable exception exists, however: the House of Commons. One briefing paper from 2017 states that only 14 MPs (2%) were under 30. Obviously, MPs should be elected based on their competence, not age. Yet it is equally important that political parties understand the concerns of the incoming generation, and don’t merely cater to more senior members of the electorate. Older politicians, of course, have succeeded in rallying millennials. The rise of Corbynism, and, according to YouGov, the popularity of Jacob Rees-Mogg, can be partly attributed to a youthful demographic.

Nevertheless, unlike the 1990s, the 2000s were a time of austerity and international terrorism. Even today, the ramifications of Brexit cast a shadow of doubt over the decade to come, and whatever the lasting effects shall be, positive or negative, millennials will be the ones most affected. But even if we disregard Brexit, issues remain. According to a report by the Resolution Foundation, 40% of “millennials” are still living in rented housing by the age of 30. In September 2018, interest rates on student loans raised to 6.3%, with the poorest students expected to graduate with £57.000 in debt, according to the IFS. With problems such as these, which cut across cultural, gender and class divides, isn’t it more important than ever that politicians represent those who understand and need them the most?

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