Could a Young People’s Party succeed in Ireland?

I tend to get quite irritated at talk of new parties, which, given my political pedigree, is a subject people raise with me on a regular basis. I get annoyed because the pitch is always the same: “We need a new party! To do what? To speak for the ordinary people! On what policies? Cut taxes and reverse the cutbacks! Isn’t that the policy of Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein, People Before Profit, Socialist Party, most Independents, the non-Democratic Left wing of the Labour Party, and those people who follow Lucinda the Khaleesi around every time an RTE camera appears, staring blankly into the camera in the hope that someone in Kilbarrack might see them?

See where I’m going here? There’s never any substance. Having said that, I wonder if there is a market for a party that openly and unashamedly targets young under 35s over everyone else? An openly biased party. After all, young voters are the ones most likely to get their welfare cut, emigrate, or in the case of new teachers or doctors (most public sector workers?), get royally screwed by their own unions to protect their older betters who have paid off their mortgages and have a tasty pension coming. Governments treat younger people in a way that they’d be afraid to treat pensioners, and we know why. Pensioners vote.

It wouldn’t be an easy proposition. Dylan Haskins, the Yoof candidate in Dublin South East, ran a campaign which, whilst not humiliating himself, did only end up with 4% and more Facebook friends than votes. Youth voters are notoriously difficult to mobilise. But the proposition is sound: a ready, regenerating group of voters, many clustered geographically around colleges, with a clear concept. We want stuff, and old people should pay for it. Sure, Richard Boyd Barrett and the People’s Front of Killiney will claim to speak for those people, but their pitch isn’t sound. People In Top Hats With Butlers And Twirly Moustaches Will Pay For Everything just doesn’t wash. But your uncle should take the same cut in his pension that you take in your dole? After all, doesn’t he have an actual house? That’s actually credible.

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