Where it all went wrong for Theresa May

Where it all went wrong for Theresa May

VOTESBYWOMEN_V35The PM never really showed up for her campaign, says Emma Bartley. Let’s not make the same mistake as her

“Who the actual f&%* are we supposed to vote for?” was the title of the first post on this blog, the day after the election was announced. When the results came in this morning, the question was more: “Who the actual f^&% is in power?”

Perhaps there’s a line to be drawn between the two. For centrists like me – nervous of hard Brexits and hardcore Socialists – it was hard to back either of the two biggest parties. Theresa May might argue that she tried to talk to the centre… but unfortunately she forgot to show up for her own campaign.

Lots of people are talking about how Jeremy Corbyn has confounded his critics by coming in a strong second place to the Conservatives. There’s some truth in this, in that he’s energised and excited many Labour voters, and brought more young people to the polls. I like him more than I did at the start of the campaign, because he’s stood up for unpopular ideas like immigration, and his snarling, angry side seems to have gone.

Really, though, this was May’s election to lose, and everybody knows it. The great irony is that she and her team seemed to feel that by playing a defensive game, she could hold on to her huge 15-point lead from the start of the campaign. And so she’s spent the past five weeks at stage-managed events, avoiding hostile interviews and – perhaps fatally – dodging the TV debates.

Perhaps she thought that the support of the rightwing press would guarantee her victory, but in practice it turned out to be an own goal. Attacks on Corbyn allowed him to claim (like Trump before him) that he was the victim of a hostile media. Meanwhile, their overblown praise left her struggling to meet expectations – “At last, a PM who’s not afraid to be honest with you!” breathed the Mail, just a day or two before May backed away from the dementia tax in an attack of nerves.

The British don’t like being told what to do, and we don’t like being taken for granted. Just 12 months after they accused the “liberal elite” of doing both these things, Theresa May and the Tories have fallen victim to the same rebellious sentiment that is dragging us out of the EU.

Today, I expected to be winding this blog up. I started it in part to overcome my own shyness in talking about political issues, because I’d realised that in failing to challenge the surest, angriest people, I’d allowed my country to be taken over by beliefs and assumptions that I found abhorrent. I didn’t expect to rebalance the national conversation by adding more female voices, but I had to try.

What’s next for Britain? What the f^&% is going on with us? Honestly, I’m not sure anybody knows. But given that Theresa May has finally shown up to form a government, the rest of us had better stay engaged with what’s going on. Because it we’ve learnt anything from the past year of massive political upheaval, it’s that if you don’t speak up for what you believe in, you’ll be crushed.

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What I’ve learnt on the doorstep in London

What I’ve learnt on the doorstep in London

Ella Garai-Ebner is too young to vote in the general election, so she decided to have her say by knocking on doors as a canvasser for her local Labour Party

Being 17 in the run up to a General Election is excruciatingly painful. Of course, it is inevitable that there will always be people who are slightly too young to vote, but for me, 17 has been the age of really learning about politics and developing my own opinions. It therefore hit me hard that, in this crucial election, I would not be getting a say in my own future.

After the initial “this is so unfair, so typical that is has to be NOW” annoyance, I decided that I would not sit back, dwell on my irritation, and swear at the TV during every debate. I wanted to take action and show my support for the Labour Party, so I took a look at the Labour website to find campaigning events near me and decided to go canvassing.

Getting off the bus that morning, I honestly had no idea what to expect. Who would I meet? Would they be friendly? Would they tell me what to do? What to say? I’m an introvert, prone to freezing and awkward silences – this felt far out of my comfort zone.

When I arrived at the meeting place, I loitered self-consciously, trying to work out whom to approach. Luckily, the awkwardness was spotted, introductions were quickly made and I proudly stuck on “I’m voting Jeremy Newmark” stickers.

The process was very well explained to us, and it was clear that we would not be thrown into the deep end – first-time canvassers like me would be paired with an experienced canvasser, at least until we felt comfortable enough to knock on doors by ourselves.

The group I was in consisted of six people, plus the Labour candidate for our North London constituency – Jeremy Newmark, a friendly, interested, and approachable person. The idea is to “leapfrog” between houses, spotting where another person has knocked, and moving on to the next house.

When the door opens (which isn’t as often as I would have thought), the leading line is along the lines of: “Hello, I’m here on behalf of your local Labour party, please can I ask who you’re voting for in the upcoming General Election?”

The responses go from the disheartening “None of your business”, the slightly politer “Sorry, I don’t want to share that”, ranging all the way to “Labour! I’m voting for you guys!”. Some people said that they just can’t vote Labour, because of Jeremy Corbyn, and are resorting to Lib Dem, but others told me that they finally have some hope for the party’s future. I had one lady tell me: “I really hope Labour win, but I’m not going to vote for them”, which is a difficult one to respond to.

Where the person answering the door is uncertain, the next question to ask is what the person would prefer, a Tory or Labour government. This makes the point that, in our constituency, if you are opposed to a Tory government, Labour is the way to vote – a Lib Dem vote would have little impact. It also useful in gaining insight into where the person is at and how much persuading they’re going to need.

That said, I didn’t have to engage in as many long political conversations as I might have thought. Tuition fees has been a recurring topic, with one young man considering whether Corbyn would follow through with his promise to get rid of them and restore maintenance grants, and concluding he is more honest than May has proved to be. Nobody talked about Brexit on the doorstep, perhaps because the candidate’s policy on it was clearly explained on a leaflet I handed over.

I found it to be very useful having Jeremy Newmark hovering behind us while canvassing, as when the people start asking tricky questions, and you start doubting if you actually have any political knowledge at all, you can ask them if they’d prefer to speak to the candidate. This was a key difference to when I tried phone canvassing and had to answer every question promptly and confidently myself (albeit with a suggested script and “crib sheet” in front of me).

Since my first experience canvassing, I’ve realised I love it increasingly, every time I go. There’s a real thrill to be gained from hearing that someone is voting Labour, or just knowing you’ve got them thinking, and considering perhaps previously unexplored options.

In the end, that’s what got me out of my comfort zone, knocking on doors: I want to ensure people are thinking. I want to start conversations, and get people to engage and talk about the issues. I also think it’s very important for people to see that young people do care, and want to actively engage in their own futures.

I have met like-minded people and learnt so much about the wide variety of opinions that are held, even within one party. Most importantly, I am happy to say that I don’t feel I have been powerless or voiceless in this election.

 

 

 

 

The right wing aren’t unstoppable. Just look at Austria

The right wing aren’t unstoppable. Just look at Austria

VOTESBYWOMEN_V31The Tories are favourites to win in tomorrow’s election, but the political tide can be turned, one progressive campaigner tells Natalie Marchant

Don’t give up. The result of the upcoming general election may seem a foregone conclusion but change is possible. You just have to fight for it.

So says Talita Simek, an activist and Austrian Green party member who successfully campaigned for the liberal independent candidate Alexander van der Bellen to defeat far-right rival Norbert Hofer in the 2016 Austrian presidential election.

Van der Bellen, or VdB, made headlines around the world with a victory widely cast as a rejection of the populist tide sweeping across Europe.  The former leader of the Greens ran on a ticket of unity, equality and opportunity, rejecting the views of far-right, gun-toting Hofer, whose FPÖ party’s first leader was a former Nazi minister and SS officer.

There had to be three rounds of voting – and campaigning – in the Austrian election due after there was no clear winner from the first round, and the second was annulled because of voting irregularities.

As part of a progressive alliance working to defeat Hofer, Talita and her fellow campaigners worked incredibly long hours. They were speaking to people across the capital, Vienna, and promoting what they saw as a way forward in a country that was disillusioned with its coalition government, which has dominated Austrian politics since 1949.

Plenty of subjects came up on the campaign trail when speaking to voters – immigration, the EU, national politics, Van der Bellen’s age (he’s 73). In response, VdB campaigners would confront them with facts and hope they could at least change some people’s minds. At least some walked away, saying they’d think about it.

Finally, against what seemed like the global tide of rightwing voting, from Brexit to Trump, the progressives won in Austria. Van der Bellen secured 53.8% of the vote, significantly higher than 50.3% he secured during the annulled second round of voting.

“In the end we got our reward,” says Talita. “I met a lot of people who were dissatisfied with politics. “But you decide which direction your country is going in. You are responsible for building a better world for your children.”

What did she learn from the experience? “United we stand,” she says. “We were such a great movement. There was only one moment of fear, a few days just before the election. But we were all so positive, that we had no doubt. We have learned from it, that we can achieve a lot together.”

To everyone going to the polls in the UK on June 8, particularly those disheartened by the prospect of a stronger Tory majority in Brexit Britain, she says don’t give up. “The UK is a great country of diversity, of different influences. I have lived there myself and I have always felt the people to be very open and very warm. We live in a changing time; we have to get closer together, to go together. Above all, we must not allow ourselves to be pulled off course by anybody who is so angry.”

It’s a particularly timely and poignant reminder amid an often very negative election campaign and in the aftermath of two terror attacks.

Remember change is possible, but you have to fight for it. At the very least, make sure you cast your vote at the ballot box tomorrow.

Natalie Marchant is a freelance journalist and MA Diplomacy and International Relations student. You can follow her on Twitter @taliena

Seven ways to vote tactically on June 8, wherever you live

Seven ways to vote tactically on June 8, wherever you live

VOTESBYWOMEN_V30There are plenty of clever ways to make your point at the ballot box – even if you live next door to Theresa May, says Eleanor Marriott

Polling day is rapidly approaching and it’s time for us all to decide who we are going to vote for. There are so many factors at play in this election that the choice isn’t such an easy one as voting for your favourite party. Maybe your priority is to try to stop Brexit, or at least a hard Brexit. Or you just want to ensure that your constituency, or indeed your country, doesn’t become or remain Conservative. You only get one vote and you really don’t want to waste it. So here’s an overview of all the information and organisations out there help you add some oomph to your x.

1 Sign up for the Progressive Alliance
This campaign group is encouraging collaboration and tactical voting to try to keep the Tories out. Just go to their website and type in your postcode and they will instantly advise you on which party to vote for to try to stop the Conservatives winning, or holding, the seat. It may mean putting your personal party allegiances aside but the reasoning is that any party (bar of course UKIP), or a collaboration between parties, is better for the progressive agenda than having another Conservative term. progressivealliance.org.uk

2 Swap your vote
Does your party not stand a chance in your area? Then consider signing up for Swap My Vote online – simply type in your postcode, declare who your allegiance is with and, conversely, who you are prepared to vote for if someone in return votes for your chosen party in their area. The website will then bring up a list of possible takers, including their constituency and a breakdown of the latest poll predictions, so that you find your perfect partner with whom to swap votes.

Swapping votes only works in some areas. For example if the Conservative Party has a strong lead in your constituency and all the other parties are lagging pretty far behind, you will be hard stretched to find someone willing to swap votes with you because the result is pretty much a done deal anyhow. But in areas where two parties are neck and neck it can be very effective.

For example, if I was willing to vote Labour in my constituency (whose predicted result is too close to call between the Lib Dem candidate and the Labour one) and ‘Fred’ , a Labour voter in Carshallton and Wallington will vote on my behalf for his local Liberal Democrat, who is currently three points behind the Conservative candidate in the polls with Labour trailing far behind, I will be happy because I may be able to get a Lib Dem MP elected in Carshalton and Wallington and Fred will be happy because Labour may win in my area. As my priority is to keep the Tories out I don’t really mind whether I vote Labour or Lib Dem anyway, but if Fred rewards me for voting Labour by helping to gain a Lib Dem victory where he is I will feel more empowered.

Vote-swapping is totally legal, built on trust and based on the assumption that both swappers will not find their pencil veering towards their favourite party come polling day. If you want to find someone to swap with just don’t leave it to the last minute to organise, as you have to wait 24 hours to see if your proposed swapper agrees before trying elsewhere if you’re unlucky.

3 Take a stand against Brexit
Remember Gina Miller, the lady who successfully held Theresa May to account in court for not wanting to allow MPs a debate and vote on the triggering of Article 50 in Parliament? Well, she has popped up again, with a crowdfunding campaign resulting in the establishment of the Best for Britain campaign. This basically consists of a website with similar aims of the Progressive Alliance, though the main emphasis is one of stopping a hard Brexit. So it will be in favour in the foremost of MPs who voted against the triggering of Article 50 at the Parliamentary debate, and secondly of candidates who may be able to prevent a Conservative landslide, with the reasoning that the smaller Theresa May’s majority, the less able she will be to push through during the Brexit negotiations in Europe. So if your number one priority is to turn back the clock on Brexit, then this is the place for you.

4 Work out the least-worst option
You may find that you are effectively being strong-armed to vote tactically in your area whether you want to or not, as your preferred party may have decided not to stand in constituencies where they feel that they will split the opposition. UKIP has taken this stance in a lot of seats because the main thing that they were originally campaigning for – Brexit – will happen if the Conservatives stay in power anyhow. (In fact, many are arguing that the Conservative Party is now effectively UKIP under another name).

The Green Party has taken a similar approach by, for example, not putting up a candidate in Southampton. The Conservatives won by a mere whisker at the last election, gaining 3.2% more votes than the Labour Party. The Greens took 2.6% of overall votes, so their reasoning is that if they don’t stand then those votes are likely to go to the Labour Party, giving them a stronger chance of beating the Conservative candidate this time. If you find that your chosen party is missing from your ballot sheet, just go with the flow taking solace by the fact that you might go down in history as a voter that helped prevent the predicted whitewash for the Tories.

5 Check if you’re one of the 48
I’m not talking about the 48%. Is your constituency one of the 48 where the combined votes of the opposition outnumber votes for Conservative? If you want to keep the Tories out, you are advised by the Guardian newspaper to vote for the biggest opposition party in these constituencies. You can check here if your constituency counts.

6 Become a swinger
Alternatively you can find out if you’re in a marginal constituency (i.e. one where a swing from one party to another is a distinct possibility) by visiting the Election Polls website electionpolling.co.uk/tactical-voting, which tells you whether you should consider voting tactically to help create that swing. This site differentiates itself from the others I’ve listed in that it is neutral. Apparently, not everyone hates the Conservatives!

7 Make student votes count
Students don’t have much to be happy about these days – what with tuition fees and Brexit – but they do have one thing going for them. They are allowed to register for two constituencies to vote – their home one and also wherever they are studying (this is because the elections are taking place just at that time when term may or may not have ended).

I suspect the Conservatives, knowing that students generally vote Labour, were hoping to catch them out by making it inconvenient for them to vote. But not only have over 90% of students registered to vote for this election, they can they cover both bases and in doing so have a tactical advantage by placing their vote where it is more effective. For example, suppose your home constituency is a true blue one but their university one is borderline between the Tories and Labour. A smart student would cast their vote in the latter one! This useful website is specifically set up for students to help them use their vote wisely http://ge2017.com/students

So those are pretty much your options for voting tactically. Hopefully it will make you feel a bit more empowered. Who knows, there has been so much collaboration between parties and dissemination of tactical voting options this election that maybe it will produce some surprising results. If you’re in a constituency whereby you don’t think you can influence the vote because the margin is so big, well, just go out and vote for your party anyhow. You may feel powerless but at least you are showing support towards your party and employing your constitutional right to vote too. It may not seem like much of a voice, but it IS still a voice, so please use it. See you at the voting booth!

Eleanor Marriott is a writer and photographer. She has a website and blog: www.anenchantedeye.com

The BBC isn’t biased. You are

The BBC isn’t biased. You are

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Stop slagging off this national treasure, says Emma Bartley – you’ll miss it when it’s gone

I really hope Laura Kuenssberg has never visited her page on YouGov. The BBC political editor has a “positivity score” of -29, down from zero last November – which is to say that no one’s ever liked her, and now quite a lot of people actively dislike her.

So what’s their problem? Helpfully, YouGov tells us that Kuenssberg is seen as “biased”, “irritating” and “sneering”. This may be down to her being a woman who talks about politics: her predecessor Nick Robinson gets positivity of +25. But even Robinson is seen by his critics as “biased”.

With Twitter hashtags like #BBCbias, #BBCleftwingbias, #bbccorbynbias and even #BBCequalsfakenews now popping up daily, the idea seems to be taking hold in some quarters that the BBC is somehow trying to manipulate viewers and listeners.

If I were writing about this as a BBC journalist I’d have to investigate in a fair and balanced way, because the BBC’s Charter and Agreement dictate that it has to be impartial. “Impartiality lies at the heart of public service and is the core of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences.  It applies to all our output and services – television, radio, online, and in our international services and commercial magazines.  We must be inclusive, considering the broad perspective and ensuring the existence of a range of views is appropriately reflected,” say its editorial guidelines.

Happily, though, I’m just the founder of an obscure political blog, which means I’m able to start with the hypothesis that “saying stuff people don’t like” isn’t the same as “being biased”. And then to phone up everyone I know who’s ever worked for the BBC and ask them why they think everyone reckons they’ve got an agenda.

“I’m always extremely sceptical of BBC bias claims as everyone I worked with was generally too professional to cross that line,” says a former employee who now works for a rival broadcaster. “The ultimate measure for me was always that both sides in politics would always claim we were biased against them – a sign that we must have been sat in the middle.”

This does seem to be backed up by two of the most recent comments about Laura Kuenssberg on YouGov. “She appears to have a biased view, which favours the Conservative Party, especially against Labour,” says one. “Who does this woman work for – the BBC or the Labour Party?” asks another… FFS.

Another producer talks about keeping a “mental log” of who has had what coverage during an election and taking steps to balance it out so that if, for example, the SNP’s Alex Salmond appears on a current affairs show, then the Scottish Conservatives’ leader Ruth Davidson will get airtime within a few days. “There’s a whole department here called editorial policy that we talk to before we do anything political about the weighting of stuff. People will look for an opportunity to kick broadcasters for not being impartial so you make sure you don’t give them a leg to stand on.”

After a while of listening to this sort of thing, I begin to find the neutrality of BBC people slightly irritating – it’s like watching someone taking a pounding in the boxing ring and not even try to fight back. Stand up for yourselves! I want to shout. Don’t you want to tell the Greens where to stick their letter whining about how you spent more time talking about the complete collapse of UKIP in the local elections than covering their modest gains BECAUSE THE VIRTUAL DISAPPEARANCE OF THE PARTY THAT HAS DOMINATED OUR AGENDA IN RECENT YEARS IS CLEARLY FAR MORE RELEVANT TO THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE AND ANYONE WHO DOESN’T REALISE THAT NEEDS TO BE BANNED FROM WRITING OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS UNTIL THEY’VE PASSED GCSE POLITICS? Do you people even know where to find the Caps Lock key?

Finally, one of them does concede a criticism of certain Corbynistas – but even this is disappointingly empathetic. “With some people around Jeremy Corbyn a narrative has taken hold that they’re victims of media bias, which I suppose is easier than facing the fact that their leadership isn’t up to running an effective campaign,” says one. “You can’t get anyone from the Labour Party press office on the phone after about 4pm.”

And yes, I can see that it’s very understandable for people to see reports that don’t reflect their own views, or their friends’, and conclude that this means those reports are biased. Perhaps it’s not even worth engaging with them: we know they’re wrong.

Except that the last time an institution that had huge benefits for my country started getting blamed for everything, keeping quiet and rolling my eyes didn’t really work out for me. So let’s spell out the case for the BBC: while a lot of state broadcasters exist only as a propaganda feed for an oppressive government, here in the UK we are lucky to have one whose only purpose is to inform, educate and entertain us. When more than half of us still view it as our most trusted source of news, I do wonder whether the angry hashtaggers and letter-writers will miss it when it’s gone.

In an odd way, the BBC’s professionalism is its biggest problem: people wouldn’t get quite so upset about what it says if they didn’t know that it has tremendous credibility. And its journalists are too worried about compromising their integrity to descend into the fray.

So it’s down to the rest of us to protect this important public service – if not our democracy. The next time you see the BBC and its employees accused of bias, why not come up with a fair and measured response – such as LEAVE KUENSSBERG ALONE, SOMEONE HAS TO ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS, or WHAT’S YOUR ALTERNATIVE – SKY NEWS? Or a nice, simple NO IT F*^%ING WELL ISN’T YOU MUPPETS.

Emma Bartley founded votesbywomen.com before she concluded from Jill Dando’s YouGov positivity score (+60) that the best way for a woman is to say nothing about anything. Oh, well

Ariana Grande stands for female empowerment. Let’s stand with her

Ariana Grande stands for female empowerment. Let’s stand with her

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Ariana Grande has often spoken against the oppression of women, calling out sexism wherever she finds it. After Monday’s attack on her fans, we should remember her feminist message, says journalist Sarah Ebner

The attack in Manchester seems to be partly at least, an attack on women – especially young girls. And more specifically, it was an attack on young girls who wanted to have fun, to sing and dance, to enjoy themselves – the kinds of girls we once were, and now, perhaps, parent.

Girls like these are abhorrent to the terrorists. They don’t approve of these kinds of women – they want us to “know our place”, to be quiet and subservient, married off young, only speak when allowed, and definitely not “flaunt” ourselves. In their minds, we are property, not individual personalities.

The girls in Manchester, like millions round the world, were not girls like that. They were there to listen to their hero, Ariana Grande – a 23-year-old who has often been outspoken on feminism (issuing her own feminist “manifesto” in 2015) and who is a role model for the tweens and teens who follow her.

She has fun, but talks of empowering women. She wears what she wants and won’t tolerate body shaming. She is pro LGBT rights and has taken part in campaigns against online bullying and cancer. In other words she is someone young girls – and boys – can absolutely relate to. And now she is crushed, or, as she put it herself “broken”.

We are in a world where everyone is a target, whether it is a priest praying or a child dancing. This latest attack contained a message aimed directly at women. We will not heed it and nor, I hope will our daughters.

Top five Ariana Grande quotes that a terrorist might not like

1 “I think women should be able to express themselves however they’d like. I think that’s feminism, taking pride in your body, taking pride in your work and doing whatever you want. I don’t think to be a feminist you have to cover yourself up or do something a certain way, I think you get to be strong in yourself and do what you feel good doing.”

2 “People have so many misconceptions of what [feminism] actually is, it’s not boy-bashing, it’s equality. It’s not about being above men, it’s about being equal to men.”

3 “Expressing sexuality in art is not an invitation for disrespect!!! Just like wearing a short skirt is not asking for assault.”

4 “Most women know the sensation of being spoken about in an uncomfortable way publicly… We need to talk openly about these moments because they are harmful and they live on inside of us as shame. We are not objects or prizes. We are queens.”

5 “I’m so proud of / inspired by everyone who marched [in the Women’s March] and thankful that there are so many people on this planet currently celebrating how brilliant and magical women truly are! Let’s keep our voices loud, passionate & peaceful!”

Follow Sarah Ebner on Twitter @sarahjebner, Votes By Woman @votesbywomen and Ariana Grande @ArianaGrande

How to get young people to vote

How to get young people to vote

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Feeling saddled with a big student debt, Jessica Allen, 22, will take a lot of persuading to vote Conservative. But how could the other parties win her support?

First, start with a healthy dose of Brexit. It’s no secret that young people between the ages of 18 and 24 voted overwhelmingly to Remain in the EU. That’s got more young people discussing politics now than ever before in our lifetimes.

This could be the answer to improving voter turnout among young people, which has steadily decreased over the past few years due to apathy and policies like the rise of tuition fees. We’re angry and we want to do what we can to stop the Tories from getting the hard Brexit and unrealistic immigration controls they seem set on (with 400,000 foreign students paying hefty tuition fees in the UK, getting net immigration down to the tens of thousands would cripple universities).

Then you need to start talking policies that’ll get young people interested. I hate to break it to you, Tories, but young people don’t really care whether there’s a double or triple lock on pensions. Or maybe you know we’ll never forgive you for Brexit and the tripling of tuition fees so you just don’t care.

Lib Dems are doing better with their manifesto, promising a second referendum before the deal is finalised and sprinkling in some soundbites about wanting to legalise cannabis and put a decent tax on it. Offering to help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder makes their chances of getting some votes a bit higher, but maybe only among young voters who have smoked enough cannabis to forget how many 18-24s voted Lib Dem in 2010, getting them into coalition with the Tories on the promise that tuition fees wouldn’t rise above £3,000 – only for them to treble, screwing over a whole generation of young people who are now graduating university with at least £27,000 of debt. (The rest of us have concluded that politicians don’t care about us and want nothing more to do with the Lib Dems other than making songs out of pithy Nick Clegg apologies.)

Labour also seem set on engaging young people introducing policies like lowering the voting age to 16 (which would have almost certainly prevented Brexit); abolishing tuition fees for good and bringing back the maintenance grants so many students appreciated; and reintroducing housing benefit for 18-21 year olds.

The Greens’ manifesto isn’t out yet, but they want to remain in the EU, have education for all, and have safe and affordable homes (all big pluses for young kiddies).

You might want to commit to gender equality. While the Tories’ target market seem to want to take us all back to the 1970s, young voters want to celebrate diversity in every size, shape and form. That makes Labour policies like extending maternity leave and legally recognising transgender folk music to our ears.

Those who live in seats where the Women’s Equality Party are standing are also interested in their ideas, like calling for more transparency on the gender pay gap and a zero tolerance policy on discrimination at work.

Optional: try to get the media to have some form of dislike for you or your party. Don’t give the press pool any decent soundbites, choosing instead to speak about your values in front of very large crowds all over the country, like a true socialist. We like the feeling we’re challenging the Establishment which hasn’t done us any favours lately.

Think about having a leader cult. We had the Milifandom and now we have the Corbynistas. Creating a great social media presence is key – you could do this by confronting other party leaders on Facebook Live videos, or helping create memes.

JME and JC

Get the right celebrity endorsements. Last year, Shut Up star Stormzy called Corbyn “My man” in an interview with The Guardian. Novelist joined the Labour Party last year and tweeted about it. And at the weekend, grime star JME paired up with Jezza to encourage young people – and especially the black youth community – to register to vote, and then vote Labour. They even plastered it on Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter, and a surprisingly catchy beat called Corbyn Riddim appeared on Soundcloud,with Corbyn listed as a member of grime label Boy Better Know on Wikipedia. Danny DeVito also backed Corbyn publicly this week – big news everywhere.

You might also consider becoming one of the people. Be like Jeremy and get the train and bus (nope, not the battle bus). Hold up massive speakers on your shoulders to make sure your mates’ speeches are heard. Ask the questions of real people at Prime Minister’s Questions. And don’t forget to spend time in your constituency fighting for local issues.

Overall, these steps have a greater chance of grabbing the youth vote in the three weeks we have until the country goes to the polls – as long as they’re registered to vote first. Remember, you have until 22 May to register at gov.uk/register-to-vote and it takes two minutes.

Jessica Allen is the founder and editor of Grrrl Power magazine. Find her on Twitter @ImJessicaAllen and Votes By Women @votesbywomen