With a shock election result earlier this month our country lays divided by political opinion. The election saw huge amounts of young people get involved in voting, making outcome much closer than ever anticipated by almost all polls. The huge Labour majority amongst young people has caught a few eyes, although this can be largely put down to Corbyn’s policies appearing more student friendly, some are beginning to think this love of the left wing is coming from somewhere else, schools.
Young people are constantly passing around figures about how ‘90% of under 21s voted Labour’ etc.. and saying it is the ‘out of touch’ old people that kept the Tories in power, but as a 15 year old state school student I put forward a case for the contrary, that young people are in fact out of touch, and this problem is now largely believed to have stemmed from two factors, both involving schooling:
The youth of our country are being told that socialism is the only viable option through their whole educational career by teachers with a somewhat warped view of our country’s political system. Before the general election many teachers engaged in conversation with students about the matter, and instead of encouraging them to keep an open mind or find out more for themselves the teacher will almost always say that we need the Tories out as soon as possible, it is their primary responsibility to equip a child with education on how to think, not what to think, and this is simply not the case.
If a child is to express an opinion which doesn’t align with a teacher’s, their views are dismissed by many (but by no means all) and the student is too often patronised about how they are too young to understand or be involved in politics , yet if a student is expressing similar beliefs to the teachers, many will say it is good to see them getting involved in politics from such a young age. And although many argue that both the right and left wings are represented in teachers, whilst this is certainly true the balance is heavily disproportionate. A recent survey carried out by TES showed that 68% of teachers intended to vote Labour, whilst a Meagre 8% intended to vote for the Conservatives.
Being in a union is of paramount importance if you wish to be legally protected at the workplace, particularly at schools, so it is no surprise that most teaching staff are members. Unions are a somewhat socialist creation and they often put pressure on their members to vote for the left wing parties. To further this the recent Tory governments have punished unions with restrictions, only strengthening their allegiance to the Labour Party.
To further socialism’s grasp of British schooling many courses also show political bias. This is perhaps most pertinent in GCSE English Literature, Most young people study ‘An Inspector Calls’, a play about a family who have all at some point helped push the same person to eventually commit suicide, the old capitalists accept no responsibility and are presented as foolish, whilst the heroes of the story, the young socialists show remorse for their actions and learn to accept ‘social responsibility’.
The play is quite frankly nothing more than a piece of socialist propaganda and yet it is some people’s only education in politics ever. The text is studied in depth, students are made to analyse the flaws of a capitalism system (as displayed by socialist propaganda) and are never once asked to question whether it is a true reflection on our country’s actual political system. Students are made to write about the ignorant and unwise older generation’s foolishness for believing in the archaic ideology of capitalism and the younger generation representing hope for future. Whilst it is argued that students are able to write about how capitalism is in fact a working ideology with few flaws it is known that top grades cannot be obtained by doing this.
Studying the text itself is not the biggest problem, it is that it distorts the political mindset of the students into believing that ‘An Inspector Calls’ is a fair representation of modern politics. In the build up to the election many young people were discussing the two main parties, when someone were to ask what both major parties stand for someone responds ‘the older generation in An Inspector Calls are Conservatives and the younger generation represent Labour’ this is perhaps one of the most ludicrously biased explanations I have ever heard, yet it is what students are taught to believe.
After the last General Election it has become apparent that the young electorate will now hold the key to Number 10, and whilst the Conservative party focus on how to appeal to the young electorate, they will first need to remove the huge amounts of bias present in schooling to stand a chance. If the party fail to do so, allowing teachers to create ‘good little lefties’ out of their students then true democracy in this nation will be lost forever.