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Artillery Row

Meet the new swing voters

Demographics that will make a difference

If you’re a sharp young opinion columnist, you know a good way to seem prescient is to identify some sort of unseen voting demographic that could make a difference in an upcoming election. 

Older readers might remember 90s concepts like the “Essex Man” but recent years have witnessed an explosion of theories about developing demographics. There is “Deano”, of course. There is “Workington Man”. There are “Taylor Swift Tories”. There is “Millennial Millie”.

Yes, you might think some of these are based on little more than passing trends in the authors’ social circles, or their vague ideas about the lives of people somewhat less — or more! — middle-class than them.

Still, I’ll be damned if I allow people to look as if they have their fingers more firmly on the nation’s pulse than me. With that in mind, here are some voting demographics that could make a difference at the next election.

Incel Andy. Andy has no job, no girlfriend and no prospect for jobs or girlfriends. He sits at home and posts memes about how “it’s so over”. He once thought about voting Conservative because Jacob Rees Mogg seemed “based” and Priti Patel made him feel all flustered. Now, only a miracle — or a British Sanna Marin — could make him vote at all.

Boomer Brenda. Brenda was born in 1953 and has spent the last two decades telling people about life in World War Two. She lives in the village of Plumley-on-Len, which has been in a Conservative constituency for the last 897 years. Still, she is outraged with Rishi Sunak for not responding to her letters about her opposition to the cancer research laboratory which is being built two kilometres from her home and would force dog walkers to take a very slightly different route. She doesn’t own a dog.

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Slightly Racist Saajid. Saajid’s parents were immigrants from India, who instilled a keen work ethic in their oldest son. He works in finance and recently got engaged to his longtime girlfriend Rebecca. 

Saajid is proud of his heritage, but he sometimes looks down on people from other immigrant backgrounds. He’s been known to make his white friends shuffle their feet when he jokes about Pakistani and Bangladeshi peers. He will probably vote Conservative, though he thinks that Rishi Sunak looks like a “simp”.

Substack Simon. Simon recently lost his job at the Times, or the Observer, or the Telegraph. He has spent decades basking in the glow of his smug centrism but now finds himself on the outside looking in. He thinks the Conservatives are “Toffs” and populists but he can’t quite forgive Labour for Corbyn. He might vote Lib Dem if they make the right noises about Ukraine and “the trans thing” but he really wants Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart to lead a march on Westminster.

Radfem Ronda. Ronda is a single issue voter. Yes, she thinks the NHS isn’t what it could be. Sure, she’s concerned about the state of her local schools. Of course, she wants the war between Ukraine and Russia to end. But what will really determine who she votes for is who thinks that a woman is an adult human female and who thinks that a woman can have a set of nuts. Frankly, she’d vote for an elephant if it could indicate that it thinks blokes should stay out of women’s bathrooms.

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Bad Beard Ben. Ben was a passionate Corbyn fan. He used to follow Vice obsessively but now follows JOE. He thinks of himself as a young radical, though he’s waist-deep in his thirties and works in logistics. He thinks Keir Starmer is a “total melt” but could be convinced to vote Labour if the party cancels student debts. He enjoys calling people “nonces” on Twitter from behind a Simpsons profile picture.

Zoomer Xander. Xander wouldn’t vote if you drove him to the polling station, dragged him into the voting booth by his curls and marked his ballot on his behalf. Still, Keir Starmer could still lose the election for himself by claiming that he’s “finna hit Net Zero by 2030 no cap”.

Roadman Ryan. Ryan has a keen interest in criminal justice, drug legislation and the Offensive Weapons Act. He might vote in the next election if he is up for parole soon.

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