by Christian Payne
If we should take one thing from the results of the last election it is this: The youth are now politically motivated and will play a big role in how the next election is decided. If the Libertarian Party is going to succeed electorally then they are going to need to capitalise on this fact and make an active attempt to appeal to the youth of this country.
The party should make a particular effort to engage with university students, as there aren’t many options for (particularly economically) liberal-minded students on campus. This is particularly true as many young Conservatives display socially liberal tendencies when it comes to issues like gay marriage, abortion and the war on drugs. This sets them apart from the more authoritarian traditionalists who have dominated large sections of the party. This means that a libertarian presence on campus who shares not only their beliefs on matters of society and economics could quite possibly dominate right-wing politics on campus. As well as this, a libertarian society would also be able to separate itself from the ‘nasty party’ image and social stigma of the Conservatives while taking up the mantle of promoters of liberty and individualism. This is all before one even considers the possibility of enticing the more libertarian, Blairite elements of the Labour party who may be dissatisfied with the direction Corbyn is taking the party.
In order to achieve this, the party must provide greater resources for libertarian students keen on developing their own branch at their institution. A quick look at many of the other parties will show that they have developed their own youth appeal offensive. However, the libertarian movement is in a unique position because of its ideology. Connections must also be made between societies new and old so that newer societies can connect and learn from older ones like the Hayek society at LSE.
Now is the time to seize this opportunity. If the libertarian movement and the party are to be taken seriously as an electoral force then it must develop its own youth base using its own unique message.