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Sesh the vote: How young people and electronic music influenced the general election result

Artists and fans got fully engaged for #ge2017

  • Seb Wheeler with assistance from Jasmine Kent-Smith
  • 9 June 2017

The kids have spoken. They want extra funding for the NHS and for taxes to be paid rather than avoided. They want a three-day weekend and bags of #cans4Corbyn. In yesterday’s general election, they dared to hope.

According to Sky News, 66.4 per cent of under 25s turned out to vote (some outlets report up to 72 per cent), up from 64 per cent in last year’s Brexit referendum and 51.8 per cent in 2010’s election. While some will have chosen other parties, it’s clear that many rallied behind Jeremy Corbyn and a Labour campaign that defied all odds (literally) to increase the party's presence in parliament. Yes, Theresa May and the Conservatives are still in power, but an important part of the electorate is woke like never before and they just contributed to a major political upset.

Many things made this happen: Whatsapp groups imploring mates to vote; weaponised memes; hashtags like #seshthevote; the refusal of a future where accessible education and healthcare aren’t guaranteed. And present throughout the run-up to the election was electronic music, an integral part of youth culture that undeniably helped get young voters up and out to the polls.

Perhaps most prominent was #grime4Corbyn, which became an informal tag for a bunch of MCs who were particularly vocal about registering to vote and getting informed on manifesto policies. Although he never explicitly endorsed a party, JME met with Corbyn to chew the fat, Stormzy encouraged empowerment and AJ Tracey spoke out about the housing crisis.

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