The Britain Stronger in Europe campaign has hatched a plan to get young voters to call their grandparents and pressure them into voting to stay in Europe for their “future”.
What has been dubbed the ‘grab a granny’ strategy will be deployed weeks before the vote, and is based on the successful referendum campaign in favour of gay marriage in Ireland. The lobbying of relatives by liberal young voters is credited by some as helping to secure a 62 per cent win there.
In the latest YouGov poll, 75 per cent of under-25s said they would vote to remain while almost 70 per cent of over-65s wanted to leave the EU.
“We want to get people to ring their parents and grandparents and say, ‘I’m going to vote to stay in and I think you should too’”, a source from the Britain Stronger In Europe campaign told the Times.
Britain Stronger in Europe is already building a base in universities and supporting student campaigning. In October last year they covertly brought Megan Dunne, the National Union of Students (NUS) president, on to their campaign board without consulting the NUS’s national executive committee, let alone the seven million students they are supposed to represent.
Downing Street hopes that the under-40s will “electrify” the campaign, as they did in the Scottish independence referendum, but this time in favor of the status quo.
The ‘grab a granny’ initiative is to be headed up by Sam Gyimah, the education minister who turns 40 this year.
He said many young Brits would be pro-EU because “some have got parents who have got holiday homes” elsewhere in Europe. And, whilst acknowledged that EU interference had a negative impact on government, argued that fear of the unknown would be a powerful factor for young people who are only just starting out on their careers.
He said, “the referendum matters for this generation in particular because they have got more of their life ahead of them. So the consequences of our choice here in terms of jobs and economic opportunity are absolutely real for them.”
Continuing: “The EU can be incredibly annoying and frustrating from a national government perspective but after thinking about it quite hard I came to the view that it’s a bit like being in a relationship.
“If all you ever looked at was what you gave and the sacrifices you are making, but not the give-and-take element, most of us would end up as singletons.
“I’m very concerned about the risk for this easyJet generation because when companies are uncertain they stop investing. The people who lose out first in their jobs are the young and the inexperienced.
“I don’t want us to be gambling their future with this referendum. If you are 30 today or 40 years as I am, the next 10 to 20 years are probably your most productive years in life.”