Since the 2008 global financial crisis, Britain’s young people have been disproportionately affected by policies of welfare retrenchment. Youth disillusionment with austerity has been cited as a reason for the youthquake witnessed in the 2017 General Election, where the Labour Party’s better-than-expected performance resulted in the loss of the ruling Conservative Party government’s parliamentary majority. The degree of one-party dominance among younger voters was unprecedented, with Labour’s aggressively pro-youth agenda paying dividends. However, this paper takes the attention away from voting behaviour and towards non-electoral forms of youth political participation in the UK. What are the strongest predictors of non-electoral political participation among young British people? Three possible predictors are explored: educational attainment, level of trust in politicians, and party identification. Three forms of non-electoral participation are considered: signing a petition, taking part in a boycott and sharing political messages on social media. Using a bespoke representative survey commissioned by Hope Not Hate, this paper finds that educational attainment does not have a particularly strong effect on non-electoral participation, with Labour Party identification being significantly associated with all three forms. A strong relationship is also discovered between identifying with a ‘minor party’ and non-electoral political participation among Britain’s young people.
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