The real problem in the UK is that the Conservative Party has allowed a vacuum to develop which for young people has been filled by the Corbynite Left: for the past decade, if not the past 25 years, the party has failed to make an inspiring, coherent, optimistic case for meritocratic, dynamic capitalism. It has done very little to address the structural causes for the discontent: house-building figures have barely risen and people who own nothing and believe that nothing will ever change don’t tend to support capitalism. Tories haven’t made the moral case for free markets, connecting young people’s individualism and social liberalism with the liberating potential of the modern, entrepreneurial and technological economy.
Changing minds and enthusing the public is a laborious and time-consuming job; it requires a long-term strategy and great communications. Instead, the Tories have opted for an easier, short-termist option, the politics of fear. They have become addicted to negativity. It’s all about staving off catastrophes – national bankruptcy if we don’t accept austerity, an SNP-led government sucking England dry if we vote Labour, economic collapse if Scotland leaves the UK, and a supposed outright Armageddon if we leave the EU.