Sat 5 December 2020

With the youth vote heavily against Boris Johnson, the Tory Government’s first moves seem to be gunning for the young.

The first full week of the new decade and new year under Boris Johnson’s majority Government does not bode well for those who hoped he would take a more ‘one nation’ and less populist, right-wing approach – displayed both in his Vote Leave and election campaigns. 

This week, the Tory majority ensured that two laws were passed which particularly targeted children and students. The House of Commons blocked an amendment to reunite children of refugees with their parents in the UK and another seeking to preserve the Erasmus exchange scheme programme which provided students wanting to study abroad with a “more rounded global education experience”.

The youth vote is a particular target of the Conservatives, since only 21% of young people voted for Johnson in the 2019 General Election (compared to 56% of 18-24 year-olds who voted for Labour). The current administration seems intent on creating a less global, informed and connected younger generation, following its nativist instincts to keep Britain out of the world.

Byline Times has today broken another story on students being targeted over social media posts echoing Stormzy’s rap “f*ck Boris”. Whatever the origin of the complaint, the school and the pupils involved certainly believed the offending Instagram account had been picked up by a central government social media team. The fact that this kind of surveillance is taken as read is a worrying example of how tyranny spreads through internal self-censorship. 

Our kids are being targeted, their rights to live and study abroad are being eroded, and we must protect them against further encroachments on our hard won British liberties. 

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