“A plague a’ both your houses!”
This is the message that the main political parties in America, Britain and Canada often receive from Generation Y members engaged in policy discourse. It is not that Gen Y is necessarily apathetic or inane, in fact it is the most educated generation to date. The mainstream parties, now firmly controlled by the Baby-boomer generation, cannot seem to come up with the right mix to captivate a majority of Millennials. Something new is needed– a party or set of ideas that best encompasses the general views of this new generation. The solution? The Economist Party.
No, this is not a party based purely on economic principles, but a party based on the values espoused by the hallowed weekly based in London. It may seem strange that a weekly publication dating back to 1843 can articulate the general views of the majority of modern Gen Y’ers, however, by looking at a the political views the magazine espouses, one quickly realizes that it embodies the rational and refreshing views so desired by Millennials everywhere.
Millenials, not Millenarians
General principles these are, but the Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Liberal and Lib Dem parties had better pay attention if they want to vie for Gen Y votes in the future. Many will attempt to argue that their party embodies Gen Y values. They don’t. Many embody some, but none can actually claim to claim them all. They remain too beholden to entrenched interests of previous generations and attempt to get votes with petulant messaging that often plays on the fears of the old instead of articulating an actual vision for the future.
Millennials want professionalism and rationality in politics, not the current state of affairs best summed up in “Hollywood for the Ugly”—a sometimes post-apocalyptic nightmare dominated by a cacophony of vengeful staffers, inarticulate yokels successful only in hijacking a nomination race, and bombastic media hacks. When such individuals are brought together it is no surprise that real vision is subsumed in petty games.
The core of the frustration espoused by fellow Gen Y members has to do with the current clump of political issues in mainstream dialogue. No one can provide a credible answer as to why oft-regressive social conservative values must be lumped in with a pro-business and apparent “freedom” agenda. On the other hand, few can explain why calls for smart government regulation or legal equality must be lumped into pandering to self-interested public sector unions that do their part to stifle creative policy delivery. Gen Y voters are forced to choose between sides they never fully agree with and often choose to withdraw from the political process entirely. This exile is linked to the fundamentally irrational disconnect in today’s political wings.
The question repeated among this seemingly disaffected generation is why political parties cannot espouse a real commitment to freedom, support business the economic engine of society, institute prudent financial and environmental regulation, foster positive immigration, maintain a woman’s right to choose, ensure LGBT equality, enact rational approach to drugs and crime, while maintaining cultural openness and an unshakable commitment to globalization and an undying cosmopolitan spirit?
A long-winded question, of course, but it is these general values that often best embody the Millennial readership of The Economist and publications such as Mindthis.
The 1843 Voice of Generation Y
In attempting to identify the general stance of fellow Gen Y’ers, one often hears admiration expressed for the views taken by a most-dear institution, The Economist newspaper. If it were a party it would dominate the Gen Y vote and build a bigger political tent than an official Gaddafi delegation.
So what are the values generally upheld by this time-honoured publication?
Perhaps the best overall representation to date of the views of the Economist are found in their February 3, 2011 article entitled “Londonism and its adherents The capital’s creed”. In it, they discuss the policies of the wildly popular Tory mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Distilled to a few lines these views are characterized by the writer the following way:
Some of it is recognizably right-wing: it embraces high finance, even during the banker-bashing furore. Some of it is conventionally left-wing: Londonism calls for state spending on infrastructure and a liberal line on immigration. Essentially, it is a commitment to relentless growth and openness.
The Economist Party and Generation Y
Gen Y’s attitude reflects an important fact in politics today—that no one party perfectly articulates the values that matter most to them. Parties ought to pay attention if they want to mobilize a powerful Gen Y vote. Overall, these values embody unrelenting cosmopolitanism, fueled by social media and the realization that the globe is shrinking daily. A move away from the current caustic rhetoric, bombast and utter unprofessionalism of today’s media and politicians is badly needed and it is this transcendence that The Economist and “Londonism” so brilliantly embody.
However, The Economist will likely remain simply a great publication and never branch out into a social movement, perhaps that can be left to Mindthis and the Mindthis Generation to implement. So a Mindthis Party may just be the answer to finally achieving “relentless growth and openness”.
The writer can be contacted for a reading list on the following issues.