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A week before the British general election, an unnamed Conservative MP was quoted in Huffington Post UK about why, precisely, his party didn't need to worry about young people voting Labour: "Under-30s love Corbyn," the MP said, "but they don't care enough to get off their lazy arses and vote for him!"

Oh, the cruel jaws of fate. They'll twist around sometimes and bite you right in the … thing you want to be sitting on in the House of Commons. It turns out that those much-maligned young people were not as lazy as the Conservatives had hoped. They put down their avocado toasts and marched to the polling booths to put the boot to seven years of Tory austerity cuts.

The percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds who voted for Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party won't be known until next week, when polling companies release survey results. But the "anecdata" is pretty clear: Young people liked Labour's self-styled Radical Manifesto. They canvassed to support it. They showed up in huge numbers at Corbyn rallies. The Economist noted on the morning of the election that its poll tracker gave Labour a 44-percentage-point advantage among young voters: "It is clear that, on paper at least, the biggest schism of all is between old and young." It still wasn't enough to put Labour back into government, of course, but it did help take away the Conservatives' majority, and send them staggering for support into the arms of Northern Ireland's DUP, a deeply conservative party that fears all the wickedness of modern life.

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Only 43 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds voted in the last general election, in 2015. (Pity the poor British, who have been stuck on the election/referendum carousel, like an amusement ride in hell, for the past few years.) That youth turnout figure will without doubt be higher this time around. As the Guardian columnist and Labour supporter Owen Jones told the BBC, the election was a direct repudiation of "the contempt that politicians have had for many years" for a segment of the population it had written off as entitled layabouts.

It is not at all surprising that young voters would turn away from the Conservatives, the party of bitter cuts to the most marginalized, and "hard Brexit." It was only seven years ago that student demonstrators took to the streets of Britain to protest the Tories' decision to raise tuition fees.

Some of them even occupied Tory headquarters in London and raised their fists as political grandees shook their furled umbrellas and muttered "bloody ingrates!" in the streets below. The students took to the streets again two years ago, when the Conservative government cut the university maintenance grant, which helped the poorest among them attend postsecondary school.

Perhaps the youth vote for Labour is revenge for Brexit. Now, Mr. Corbyn was hardly a heroic figure on the Remain side, and barely mustered enthusiasm for the campaign. But set against Prime Minister Theresa May's uncompromising "hard Brexit," Labour seemed like the hope for the future. Don't forget that 64 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds voted in the referendum, the vast majority to remain in the EU. They saw their future being traded for a handful of falsehoods and antique bigotry. They are young, their minds are sharp, and their memories are long.

And, most important, they appear not to look at politics through the same tradition-fogged lens as their elders. They failed to read that Mr. Corbyn was a "radical leftist" in the Financial Times, or perhaps they read it and thought: Higher taxes for the wealthy and free university tuition, is that really so radical? Better the free radical you don't know than the free markets that have failed so many for so long.

There are many reasons to be suspicious of Mr. Corbyn's Labour Party, namely its inability to rein in a horrid strain of anti-Semitism on the fringes. But those weren't the reasons given by the opposition, who painted Mr. Corbyn as an incompetent manager, a throwback hard-leftist, a vegetarian beardy weirdy who likes to garden and cycle and – most shocking of all in Booze Britain – doesn't drink.

Turns out those things aren't deal-breakers for young voters. Maybe they're even deal-enhancers. Quite aside from the leader's personality, though, the appeal lay in Labour's election manifesto, which was loudly mocked by the Conservatives.

The manifesto was unashamedly aimed at young people, promising to lower the voting age to 16, and to abolish the tuition fee increase that had been brought in under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government. It promised a living wage for everyone, and housing subsidies for under-21s. It called for an end to unpaid internships as a way of levelling the playing field, and for the creation of a National Education Service, which would ensure free learning for young people and mature students.

Would a Labour government have been able to implement these plans? Would it have been able to pay for it? That's a question for alternative-history books. Or maybe it's a question for later this year, if the election-weary British are dragged out once again to choose a political direction for the future.