Tories need to show their mes­sage works across gen­er­a­tions

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

now, but, grat­i­fy­ingly, I was given a fair hear­ing and Sir Pa­trick McLough­lin, the party chair­man, even sin­gled my speech out for praise.

Ian His­lop got a big laugh on Have I Got News For You? when, com­ment­ing on the re­ports that the av­er­age age of Tory Party mem­bers is now 72, joshed that was only so far as the Young Con­ser­va­tives were con­cerned.

Very funny, but, hand on heart, I saw a lot of peo­ple my age and younger at the con­fer­ence.

Talk­ing to them, I would say we had a lot in com­mon.

For many of us, the no­tion that each new gen­er­a­tion should be able to build a bet­ter fu­ture, and do bet­ter than the one that pre­ceded ours, feels in­creas­ingly at odds with the re­al­ity that we, as a de­mo­graphic, face.

We are at an age when, de­spite work­ing as hard as we can, and sav­ing as much as we can, the as­pi­ra­tion of own­ing our own homes re­mains only that – an as­pi­ra­tion, and one that is likely to re­main so for some years yet.

We are a gen­er­a­tion that hav­ing voted over­whelm­ingly to re­main in the Euro­pean Union, feel pes­simistic about what lies ahead for us as we en­ter what looks like a cold, hard post-Brexit world.

The older gen­er­a­tions at the con­fer­ence had big ad­van­tages over us.

The old­est – old enough to have seen the Sec­ond World War or been born not long after it – could, gen­er­ally speak­ing, count on a job be­ing for life and a good pen­sion.

The ‘baby boomers’ that fol­lowed may not have had the same job se­cu­rity, but they could mostly af­ford to buy their own homes and see them rise in value over the years.

My gen­er­a­tion has nei­ther bless­ing, but we still want to re­alise our po­ten­tial.

I told the con­fer­ence how, if I have a fight­ing spirit, Birm­ing­ham has given it to me.

I want to fight for my gen­er­a­tion and for Birm­ing­ham.

It is sim­ply not ac­cept­able that we have the low­est em­ploy­ment rate of any of the core cities, with the per­cent­age of peo­ple out of work in some con­stituen­cies run­ning into dou­ble fig­ures.

There ex­ists, too, a large dis­crep­ancy be­tween wards in re­spect of life ex­pectancy.

My own po­lit­i­cal patch of Edg­bas­ton neatly il­lus­trates the so­cial di­vide that ex­ists in my city. Stun­ningly large houses with a value of more than a mil­lion pounds, sit­u­ated in an oa­sis of leafy sub­ur­bia, are sep­a­rated by just a few hun­dred yards from com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing in depri­va­tion and whose lives could not be more dif­fer­ent.

It’s a re­minder that de­spite the progress we have made, there are so­cial in­jus­tices that still need to be tack­led, poverty that still needs to be al­le­vi­ated, and equal­ity of op­por­tu­nity that still needs to be avail­able for ev­ery­one, ir­re­spec­tive of age, eth­nic­ity, fam­ily wealth or post­code.

The Con­ser­va­tive Party has a great tra­di­tion of be­ing able to ad­dress the chal­lenges that have faced ev­ery gen­er­a­tion be­fore mine.

While I re­main con­vinced that out of all the choices we have avail­able, the agenda of a Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment re­mains the best placed to tackle these chal­lenges, the stark re­al­ity re­mains that vast num­bers of my gen­er­a­tion do not share this view, as the re­cent gen­eral elec­tion re­sult showed.

As a party, we must be able to demon­strate to vot­ers of my age that we are on their side. Amil Khan is a Con­ser­va­tive Party

ac­tivist from Edg­bas­ton

De­spite the progress we have made, there are so­cial in­jus­tices that still need to be tack­led

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