Is it wrong to be a young conservative?

By George Kup

Ever since the age of eighteen, I have been a member of the Conservative Party. Since then, I have become the youngest ever Conservative Councillor at Thanet District Council, Deputy Chairman of North Thanet Conservative Association and Sir Roger Gale`s Parliamentary Assistant. So, I think it would be wrong to say that “the Conservatives do not offer an opportunity to young people within the party” - a sentence that I have heard far too many times.

In a country that prides itself on being open and democratic, it amazes me how I continually face personal threats just for wearing a blue rosette on election day. It would seem that we do our best to encourage younger generations into politics and then criticise them if they sign up to the views of anyone but the party with a red rose, The Labour Party. Surely, the criticism and personal attacks do nothing more than discourage young people from getting any further involved in politics?

I believe it is fair to suggest that within certain educational fields when politics is mentioned, it’s often taught, by professionals, from a biased position. I have experienced first-hand the challenges of admitting that I am a Conservative at University and being faced with pure amazement and dispute. I am not afraid to have a debate, and I am not afraid to have a discussion. I think it is crucial that we engage in both as we must challenge each other on our views and our outlook on life. However, I do not believe it is right or proper to turn any debate or discussion into a personal attack. By doing so, I believe that you lose the debate straight away.

It worries me that it seems difficult for a young person to openly admit that they are a Conservative - even some adults find it hard to do so. How can we criticise young people for not being more involved in politics or having stronger opinions if they are shouted down and verbally abused when their views do not line up with the majority? I believe that the Left is very well represented within youth purely because a lot of those on the Right are afraid of what might be said to them.

So often, when situations occur that bring about protest or challenge the social norm, I will try and get involved and seek to support that change as I often believe it is for the better. However, just because I am not a member of Momentum or the Labour Party, is it wrong of me to get involved? Why should people say “how can you want change when you are a Conservative?”

On a radio show that I co-host on W!ZARD Radio, we asked this very question: “is it wrong to be young and be a Conservative” - naturally I argued that of course, it wasn’t wrong for young people to believe in Conservative values and want to vote for them. My co-host Callum Gurr, who is an ex-member of the Liberal Democrats, also argued that it shouldn’t be wrong. However, to both our amazement, our listeners voted against what both of us were saying. The result: “yes, it is wrong to be young and Conservative” 67% and “no it isn’t wrong to be young and Conservative” at 33%.

If we want a country that is open to debate and freedom of speech that encourages the next generation to stand up for what they believe in then we should not verbally abuse young people just because they believe in Conservative values.

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this piece belong solely to the author and do not reflect the views of Demographica as a company.

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