Spitting feathers

22 May 2018 | Liz Bowen

When you think of ‘chicken’ surely the first word on most people’s lips is ‘Nando’s’. If you’re a millennial, you should probably make that two, after all, it’s ‘cheeky’ right?

The restaurant chain has become synonymous with a quick and easy meal and while ‘PERi-PERi’ is the word(s) on everyone’s lips, ‘politics’ is definitely not.

Never once on my occasional trips to Nando’s to indulge in some chicken (plain for me, ta) and spicy rice (contradictory, I know), have I thought as I walk through the door of my local branch, “my God, look at all these left-wing luvvies” or “God, it’s posh in ‘ere innit”.

The age range of the clientele is often distinctly mixed too. Generally, yes, the majority of customers are of a younger generation, but let us not stereotype.

Unless of course, you’re the Tory party, which decided the best way to win over young voters this week was with a Nando’s discount card.

Nothing about tuition fees, more support for the NHS or any of the other many, many issues the younger generation are genuinely concerned about, no, no. For the Tory party, cheaper chicken is the answer to tucking more spring chicks under its wing.

The party is currently up against it, as Labour’s membership numbers – specifically its youth members – continues to grow, compared to the Tories average membership age of…72.

However, following the announcement of the plan, the party was left with egg on its face as Nando’s came out to flatly refuse the collaboration, declaring it has no political affiliation.

Given the rallying cry of young wannabe-voters in the UK to lower the voting age to 16 so they can have their say on the issues affecting them, it’s fair to say this plan was chicken-brained at best.

The younger generation is more aware than ever of the state of the world and is certainly becoming more and more vocal about it.

Even Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson warned that the party should embrace a “more open and liberal outlook” to win the backing of younger voters.

Whether or not the Tories were genuinely going to fly the idea remains to be seen. The response on social media has also been relatively tame given the embarrassing faux-pas and Nando’s flat out refusal to be in any way involved.

But what the move has reaffirmed is that younger voters are critical to the success of future politics in the UK and far from hushing them up, more needs to be done to actually listen to them and not just bribe them with a cheap meal.