How Corbyn bridges the generational divide | Letters

Don’t forget the oldies, write Penny Joseph and Dr William Edmonson, while Tom Mahoney feels like hugging every young Corbyn supporter

I would like to thank Owen Jones for his excellent piece (Jeremy Corbyn has caused a sensation – he would make a fine prime minister,, 9 June). I really appreciate that he was big enough to admit that he had been wrong in his judgment of Jeremy Corbyn. Though I am sure he is quite right in his proposition that it was young people who were mainly responsible for the Labour gains, at 71 (and also not a traditional labour voter) I am definitely not one of them. Yet I have become excited by Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign, and I know of other “oldies” who have been equally inspired by him. I have been telling people who insisted that Jeremy Corbyn’s politics are old labour and outdated, that on the contrary, his politics are of the future, they are hopeful and progressive.
Penny Joseph
Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex

• Don’t encourage simplistic analysis of the voter age groups supporting Labour (Young people saw a chance, and we took it, 12 June). The number of people joining Labour after the failure in 2015 helped make it the largest political party in Europe, but they were not all youngsters. Many older folk (re-)joined because they saw the need to do something about the leadership and policies, and then seized the opportunity when it was offered. The number of young people signing up to vote was much higher than the Labour party’s membership. And there will have been young Tories in the mix too. The story is not just about age, it is about engagement for first timers, and re-engagement for old-timers who want to see the back of Blairism. The inspiration was and remains the possibility of re-legitimising socialism in Britain.
Dr William Edmondson
Rowley, Shropshire

• Sorry Brenda from Bristol, but another election looms, and this time a progressive alliance of Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP, Plaid and the Greens need to get their policy ducks in a row to win it. Firstly, these must provide hope, not just for the young, but for every community in the country. To do this Jeremy Corbyn must revisit and vigorously shake his people’s QE “money tree”. This could pay for real economic activity on the ground via decentralised infrastructure projects to make the nation’s 30 million buildings energy efficient, ensure a shift to localised renewable energy, and the building of local transport systems.

Secondly, the divide between young and old must be bridged by policies fostering intergenerational solidarity. Older people with significant saving should be offered “housing bonds”, paying, say, 3% interest to help fund a massive council and affordable homes programme. Tuition fees would be scrapped, but so too must be the threat of having to lose a home to pay for care, or having to scrabble for means-tested benefits such as heating allowances. Financed by progressive and fairer wealth and income taxes, and a clampdown on tax dodging, this should have an election-winning appeal to the majority of grandparents, parents and their young relatives.
Colin Hines
East Twickenham, Middlesex

• I still doubt that Jeremy Corbyn will be remembered as a man who wins a general election as Labour party leader. I still doubt that he will be remembered as a great leader of the opposition, or as a man who united the Labour movement. But I am confident that he will be remembered for many years to come as the man who galvanised the young generation to join a political party and to get out and vote. This may be his finest legacy.
Keith Scrivener
Sheepstor, Devon

• Reading Gary Younge (Despite the smears and distortions, this was a victory for hope, 10 June) brought a further surge of the euphoric feeling to which I awoke on Friday morning. It called to mind a quote from The Prelude by Wordsworth: “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive”. The wonderful contribution of the young voters leads me to the next line: “But to be young was very heaven”. As a 77-year-old lifelong Labour supporter, I felt like hugging every one of them.
Tom Mahoney
Bexleyheath, Kent

• I agree that the voting age of 18 seems purely arbitrary and outdated in the 21st century. It is indeed time we allowed 16-year-olds the vote (Editorial, 9 June). People who are disaffected with politics or who do not feel they understand the issues involved often choose not to vote anyway, whatever their age. The argument that 16-year-olds may not understand is a spurious one. At the other end of the argument, what checks are there that people with advancing dementia have the faculties to be able to make an informed decision sufficient to vote? For years there have been rumours near where I live, that Tory party supporters go to care homes and drive residents to polling stations so that they are able to cast their votes!
Jenny Page
Newton Poppleford, Devon

• Join the debate – email

• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit


The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The Guardian view on generational inequality: a country fit for all ages | Editorial
Editorial: In 2010, David Willetts illuminated the equality divide between young and old. Since then things have only got worse


23, Apr, 2017 @6:56 PM

Article image
Labour’s manifesto contained nothing radical | Letters
Letters: Most of the pressing issues of our day were ignored, writes Martyn Sloman, while Les Bright and Joe McCarthy think Corbyn has changed the party for the better


26, Sep, 2017 @5:51 PM

Article image
Let’s be honest about socialism’s paradoxes | Letters
Letters: When socialists argue that a socialist government could renew the country with a different tax regime, they implicitly argue that the Tories haven’t done such a bad job of running the country


13, Jan, 2017 @6:55 PM

Article image
Ways we can combat generational injustice | Letters
Letters: To continue to pay national insurance after retirement would ensure that those who live longest have contributed most to the health and care systems


10, May, 2017 @5:56 PM

Article image
This was a vote for a better politics and the prospect of real change | Letters
Letters: Guardian readers celebrate a strong showing for Labour in the UK general election


09, Jun, 2017 @5:49 PM

Article image
Corbyn would have no free hand in Brexit negotiations | Letters
Letters: Labour’s leader is not best placed to lead Brexit talks, says Sotirios Hatjoullis; while Victor Launert, a leaver, says he will indeed be thinking of Brexit when he casts his ballot


07, Jun, 2017 @6:04 PM

Article image
By making the EU vote a generational issue, we grow ever more divided | Letters
Letters: We’re already seeing a shocking surge in xenophobia and racism since the result. Let’s not add to it by indiscriminately boomer-bashing, which is fast becoming a national sport in social media


29, Jun, 2016 @7:01 PM

Article image
Corbyn showed he could talk to the people. Now the party must talk to him | Letters
Letters: Jeremy Corbyn fought a great campaign, but the Labour lord Tom Pendry still doubts his ability to be prime minister; other readers contribute views on the leader’s success and efforts to end divisions in the party


14, Jun, 2017 @7:14 PM

Article image
Labour policies drowned out by Corbyn memes | Letters
Letters: Media academics, theologian Canon David Jennings, historian Kenneth O Morgan and others on the press coverage of the election


12, May, 2017 @6:07 PM

Article image
Corbyn’s share of blame for Labour’s meltdown at the polls | Letters
Letters: Now we are promised more of John McDonnell in the campaign. I am not sure this will do a great deal of good


07, May, 2017 @6:53 PM