Life after Milifandom-And Why Ed Miliband Isn't to Blame If I Fail My Russian History AS-Level

By Tomlinson, Abby | New Statesman (1996), June 26, 2015 | Go to article overview

Life after Milifandom-And Why Ed Miliband Isn't to Blame If I Fail My Russian History AS-Level


Tomlinson, Abby, New Statesman (1996)


Bliss: I've just finished my AS-level exams and am looking forward to eight weeks of summer break. I have no idea how I did but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Because I caused a splash during the election by leading the Milifandom--we were the ones who ran the pictures of the then Labour leader with the photoshopped flower crowns one of my teachers joked that if I don't do well in my Russian history exam, he would go to the Sun to say it was Ed Miliband's fault for distracting me.

Until results day on 13 August, I'm filling the time with five trips down to London for various exciting reasons. When eventually I make up my mind about who I'm backing for Labour leader, I'll be doing a whole lot of campaigning. There will be an absurd amount of reading in preparation for A-level courses and university applications, as well as the dreaded personal statement, in which you are forced to brag about your achievements in the most cringeworthy manner possible while explaining your passion for your chosen subject--except that you're not allowed to use the word "passion" or any of its close synonyms. On top of that, you know you're up against people who have been trained to write Oxbridge-level statements ever since Eton or Cheltenham Ladies began to take a tidy chunk out of their parents' wages. Joyous times, indeed.

Rules of engagement

Much to my dismay, the House of Commons has decided against lowering the voting age to 16 for the EU referendum. The majority of the No votes were cast by Conservative MPs. They mostly gave laughable reasons for doing so, although in the interests of fairness we shouldn't forget the delusional comment from the Labour MP Barry Sheerman that allowing 16-year-olds to have a say in their country's future would "shrink childhood" and make them more vulnerable to sexual abuse.

I think the real reason why so many MPs were against 16- and 17-year-olds having the vote in the EU referendum was that they knew that young people would use their vote, as the Scottish independence referendum last year showed. A high turnout among teenagers would considerably strengthen the case for enfranchising 16-and 17-year-olds at general elections, too.

I don't mean to stereotype but, in my experience, young people are often more leftwing than older generations--yet another reason why the Conservative Party doesn't want them casting their vote. David Cameron and his minions would never say this out loud, so they stick to the argument that the existence of politically engaged teenagers is a myth. The Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, might also consider that if she doesn't think 16- and 17-year-olds know enough about politics to vote, maybe that's a problem she should be solving.

There is still hope that the amendment could be forced through in the House of Lords but we'll have to wait and see.

Ain't no Sun shine

For many of us, the question on our lips is: who can, should and will succeed Ed Miliband as the leader of the Labour Party? …

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