How often do you speak to your grandparents? I only have my Nan left and I’m rubbish at calling her as often as I should. Part of that is because I rarely use my phone to call anyone anymore, something I became painfully aware of the other day when I texted my wife a singing gif that asked her what she’d like for dinner, to the tune of a 1930s silent film.
Luckily my Nan is fiercely politically savvy. She watched her father fight fascists in Cable Street as a child and has always been on the right side of social justice. At 92, she recently organised a protest against the staffing cuts of the wardens in the home she lives in. There’s as much chance of my Nan voting Tory as there is of her breakdancing with Beyoncé, though the latter would at least elevate the family’s standing in the community.
But my Nan is the exception. A lot of pensioners will vote Tory, many just out of habit. That’s why we need to talk to our grandparents about what another five years of the Tories would do to us, as well as them. According to the experts, Labour has a huge lead with people under 50, while the Conservatives are wooing the over 50s and even more so the over 60s. It seems fairly obvious why this is.
I’m 36 and when recently looking at a website to see what, if anything, my wife and I could afford to buy with our combined meagre earnings, it came up with only one property. A garage by the Hanger Lane roundabout. The housing ladder appears to now be one of those rope ones – dangling from a helicopter. No matter how high you jump, it’s always out of reach.
We’re contemplating parenthood but in our current flat, any future small people would have to live in the bath. Or were we in our garage home, they would live in their own drawer in the tool box next to screwdrivers and the obsolete, aspirational gym equipment.
I spend way more than half my earnings on rent and with rising food and travel costs, my job as a gigging comedian is getting harder to afford to do. But at least I don’t have to worry about debts incurred by higher education or childcare costs (yet), or getting a zero hours job with no security, or struggling to access mental health care.
What’s baffling is how the Tories have royally stitched up their most loyal supporters and still expect their vote on 8 June. Scrapping the triple lock pension, cuts to winter fuel allowance and the dementia tax. Is Theresa May banking on pensioners forgetting her manifesto pledges before they get to the polling booth?
This is an opportunity to talk to our grandfolks about our hopes and dreams, and I don’t mean that in a patronising or shouty way. I remember Jonathan Haidt’s description of people’s emotive political loyalties as an elephant and their rational mind as that of the elephant rider. The idea is you can’t control the elephant but you can possibly sway its direction by persuading the rider you’re worth listening to. The website callyourgrandfolks.com does what it says on the tin. It puts up some convincing arguments for people of all ages to vote Labour.
I’m voting Labour because it’s a party of hope, not hate. Its manifesto makes me feel
optimistic about my future for the first time. The outcome of this election will be determined by the conversations we have with our family and friends, as well as getting armchair activists, like myself, out on the door steps. That’s why I’ve signed the election day pledge to knock on doors for Labour on 8 June.
If you’re worried about facing another five years under the Tories, pick up the phone, you know, like everyone used to do in the old days, and tell your grandfolks how you feel.
Afterwards, show them how to text everyone they know asking them to vote Labour with a gif to the tune of Captain SKA’s number one iTunes hit, Liar Liar.