The Tories’ Generational Challenge

It’s not just the American right that’s having trouble reaching younger generations. The Euroskeptic Tories face an increasingly Europe-friendly generation. A young UK Independence Party member wrings his hands:

Those of us who want to leave the EU face a stark reality: we face a generational time bomb which we must start doing all we can to defuse.

YouGov’s most recent EU poll demonstrated once again how voters were split on the EU by age. Forty-five per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds want to stay in the EU, compared to just 32 per cent who want to leave; similarly, those between 25 and 39 favoured staying in, by 47 per cent to 27. Older generations feel differently: 43 per cent of those between 40 and 59 want out, against 38 per cent, and among the over-60s a massive 56 per cent want to leave, compared to just 33 per cent wanting to stay in.

Without the euro, with huge trade benefits, and with easy travel, I can see why younger Brits see no reason to embark on such a radical change. Britain has been in the EU since 1975. Why do Tories want to rip up a relationship that is now entrenched for almost half a century? Can’t they just do what they’ve always done: grumble loudly and muddle through?