Losing the Generation Game

  • Phil Cohen


After the Labour Party’s second election defeat by Mrs Thatcher, it decided to embark on a series of policy reviews. Under the slogan ‘Labour Listens to Youth’ front-bench politicians held meetings with carefully selected groups of young people up and down the country. At the same time, an agit prop outfit called Red Wedge was launched to spearhead a new cultural politics aimed at youth, and meetings were organised with ‘youth experts’ to advise the party on how to develop a range of new policies in this area. The initiative had a number of aims. It was designed to win back the youth vote which for the first time in half a century had gone more to the Tories than Labour, raising the spectre of a new ‘yuppie generation’ coming to power. And it was meant to reduce the influence of the Trotskyite-dominated Young Socialists who had been active around issues of youth training and unemployment and whose sectarian politics provided the Tory press with an ideal stick with which to beat Labour.


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© Phil Cohen 1997

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  • Phil Cohen

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