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The raving youngsters' groovy parties

Clubs are standing candidates to get the youth vote, says Alister Morgan
REMEMBER Red Wedge? At one time in the Eighties, it was rather hip to be a trendy lefty. Now, the sampler has replaced Billy Bragg's acoustic guitar and 18 to 24 year olds steer clear of politics. You can hardly blame them when the only "youth" issue the Government seems interested in is drug consumption. A shocking 43 per cent of this age group didn't vote in the last election.

But this time consciousness-raising is coming from an unexpected source. We know about the Ministry of Sound's slogan "Use your vote. You know he'll use his", featured on postcards with pictures of a tatooed Nazi, racist graffiti and a smiling huntsman brandishing a disembowelled fox. Now, Miss Moneypenny's, groovy Birmingham nightclub, is fielding a political candidate against the odious Neil Hamilton and the loveable but middle-aged Martin Bell. The club's flamboyant mascot, The Transformer, has been campaigning on youth issues for the past two weeks and will be sure to stimulate debate in respectable Tatton. Even Mr Bell's time in Bosnia can't have prepared him for such a challenge.

In London, clubland's Lenny Beige, candidate for Farringdon club Happiness Stan's Freedom To Party Party, is standing against Sir James Goldsmith in Putney. And Wireless at the Gardening Club will run live election broadcasts for concerned punters. Eighteen to 24 year olds represent 16 per cent of the vote. So, use it, or lose it.