In the weeks leading up to the election, it seemed that every other post I saw on my Facebook and Twitter feeds was a ringing endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn. In particular, his promise to eliminate tuition fees and to tax the rich to oblivion seemed to sway large numbers of moderate voters in my age group towards supporting him. His domination on social media was such that I sometimes suspected a Labour victory might be on the cards.
That being said, there was never a point when I seriously considered actually voting for ‘Jezza’. In fact, his idea of what government should be differed so greatly from mine that in any other year I would have voted Tory without hesitation just to keep him out of Downing Street. Indeed, that is exactly what I did in 2015 when it looked for all the world that Prime Minister Miliband would become a reality.
However, this time round I simply couldn’t bring myself to vote for the Tories either. Theresa May’s hopeless, negative campaign aside, I didn’t find her message to be a truly conservative one. In my book, conservatism should come down to simplicity – less government interference, smaller government, and more individual freedom. From where I was standing, May offered none of the above.
To touch on one thing in particular, her plans for free speech and for technology fill me with a real sense of dread. Not only could her proposals for a new, government-regulated internet lead the country on a dark path towards outright censorship à la China or North Korea; but her plans to put a stop to end-to-end encryption on services like WhatsApp are absurdly unworkable, and could actually force a large number of tech firms out of the country, depending on how exactly they were implemented.
My generation has now largely been turned off voting Conservative in general, and it is clear that the Tories will have their work cut out to bring young voters back on side. If the next Tory leader presented themselves at the next election with clear, concise and sensible policies (as opposed to a waffling 88-page albatross of a manifesto, to paraphrase my father), and a positive campaign consisting of more than smears on Corbyn, then I would be reasonably happy to go back to voting Conservative. Unless such changes are brought about, however, I may be stuck voting independent. And who wants that?