Party Politics: Manchester’s Parklife festival reacts to the election aftermath

When Glastonbury-goers awoke to the news that the UK had decided to exit the European Union last year, it threatened to cast a pall over the festival. But the “youthquake” that has said to have propelled Labour’s unexpected success at the polls meant that the same fate didn’t befall Parklife.

The wake of the election was visible throughout: from Manc punks Cabbage having ‘Voted Labour’ emblazoned over their drum-kit to Matt Healy – frontman of main stage bill-toppers The 1975 – insisting that “Theresa May needs to resign. She needs to stop squatting in Number 10 with a coalition that sounds like an STI.” Across the field, the Temple was headlined by Boy Better Know, and few have done more to galvanise young voters than JME.

As NME asked Parklife revellers who they voted for, it turned out you’re more likely to witness a Democratic Unionist Party member catching the bouquet at a gay wedding than finding someone here who’ll admit to voting Conservative.

Alistair Whelan, 19
Coventry

Why did you vote for Labour in this election?

“For something different to normal politics. Jeremy Corbyn looks like a character who would actually stay up worrying at night that nurses are going to foodbanks, that the NHS is underfunded. He genuinely seems like somebody that cares.”

How do you feel about the election result?

“I think it’s promising to the future that us as young people have the power and ability to counter whatever anyone else thought was going to happen – what we want is within our grasp.”

What is the next step?

“That’s a tough one. Just optimism. Keep with Labour. Obviously May needs to leave, she needs to resign and hopefully we’ll see an election within a year that will bring that forward.”

Aaron James Cooper, 21
Macclesfield

Who did you vote for in the election?

“Labour for a lot of reasons. The Tories are really corrupt. You can see that in the newspapers when they spend 13 pages saying Jeremy Corbyn is a terrorist, yet now they’re jumping in with a party who are made up of ex-terrorists [The DUP]. They slammed Tim Farron for being homophobic, yet are happy to work with a party who have anti-gay views.”

How do you feel about the result?

“I feel very angry about it. Theresa May went into this saying she wanted to increase her number of seats but the people have spoken. You’re not popular. Why are you still in power now? She should have walked – calling a snap election backfired on her big time, and she needs to take responsibility for it.”

What is the next step?

“I think every year, Labour are going to attract more voters because people are now realising you can’t trust the newspapers. They’re going on social media to see the truth. Theresa May won’t debate a politician live because she knows she’ll get rinsed. She says she’s strong and stable but she’s the exact opposite. As soon as someone asks her a question, she’s struggling and stuttering.”

Sass Holmes, 19
Norwich

Who did you vote for?

“Jeremy Corbyn! Labour! Whoo! He’s rooting for everyone, not just the five per cent. He’s a great person. Everyone puts him down, but he’s so resilient. As a student, the manifesto is supporting me. Even though he didn’t win, I’m really impressed at how well Labour did.”

How do you feel about the result?

“I was disappointed, especially with the DUP coalition. But the amount of votes Labour got was amazing and it really shows that young people have a say in the world now.”

What is the next step?

“A revolution, maybe? I’d love that to happen. We need to keep pushing – I don’t think this youth engagement is going to dissipate, it’s only going to get stronger.”

Iona Liddle, 19
Norwich

Who did you vote for?

“I voted for Labour because their manifesto was fully costed, whereas the Conservatives provided no figures. That’s without taking into account the fact the Conservatives are pro-fox hunting, and making the lives of those on welfare hell. Labour really stand true to their slogan – for the many, not the few.

“They’re directing money towards areas of the community that need it the most. I feel they have my best interests in mind, whereas the Conservatives really don’t. They don’t care about the millennial generation, whereas Labour do. I understand there are some flaws with Jeremy Corbyn being leader, but it’s the lesser of two evils when you’ve got May. She’s just awful.”

How do you feel about the result?

“It was the only time I’ve woken up after an election and not felt utter shit. I feel we can work with that result. But then again, the DUP are very scary people – the fact the Tory government will have to lean on them is frightening. I’m gay and feel my rights are at risk. Although the general public don’t have a demand for what they stand for, the DUP will still have a considerable amount of power over what goes on – that concerns me.”

What is the next step?

“It’s doing what we’ve proven we can do as millennials which is make as much noise as we can. Keep voting and being loud about what you believe in. Be on Twitter constantly and rant about shit because it will make a difference.”

Nadia Whatney, 18
Norwich


Who did you vote for?

“Jeremy Corbyn. I’m not a massive Labour supporter but they were the only viable alternative to the Conservatives whose manifesto was the most regressive thing I’ve ever seen regarding social issues. I was particularly concerned about their policy on internet privacy. It’s very 1984 – increasing surveillance and compromising the liberties of this nation, which isn’t the correct way to deal with terrorism.”

How do you feel about the result?

“I was really happy. Whilst the Tories won and Labour lost, Theresa May has completely made a fool of herself and it’s really shown how unstable her government is. The fact she’s forming a coalition with a fringe party that exists only in Ireland and is anti-LGBT, anti-abortion and is a climate change denying party is perversely funny to me – that she’s made such a mess of something that was supposed to give her the mandate she needed to push through the Brexit she wants.

What is the next step?

“I definitely think there’s been a surge in youth engagement. Because there was an avalanche of negative press against Jeremy Corbyn and people assumed Theresa May would get a landslide victory, when she didn’t, people have seen that the youth vote made a difference this time, as opposed to the apathy we saw in the last couple of elections. Young people have seen their vote does count.”

Tasmin Ritchie-Brown, 23
London

Who did you vote for?

“I voted for Labour because people that I know have been victims of the education cuts. My auntie was a teaching assistant at a school for 18 years – she lost her job. The NHS was an issue for me, as I have family members with illnesses. If they have to pay for their care in hospital, it would be hard for us. When I apply to university, free tuition fees would benefit me.”

How do you feel about the result?

“A bit pissed off. I would never trust Theresa May as Prime Minister. She’s only trying to make things better for the people who are rich. There are people in my family who have to apply for benefits when they really need it – and they don’t get the help.”

What is the next step?

“A lot of people I know believe in Jeremy Corbyn but they feel ‘it’s a fix’, so don’t vote. These are the people who need to take a stand. With us, we don’t like the way things are going so we’re going to do something about it, rather than just moaning.”

Emily Bennett, 19
Manchester

Who did you vote for?

“I voted for Labour, purely because the manifesto spoke to me. They targeted young people like me. Jeremy Corbyn seems like he wants to hear our voice; the other parties don’t.”

How do you feel about the result?

“I’m not too happy with the outcome of a hung parliament, but Labour winning more seats is a positive.”

What is the next step?

“The next step is to ensure young people carry on voting. Compared to the EU referendum, there’s a feeling of hope – young people are realising their voices are being heard.”