Growing up as a young person in Britain is not easy. We are often referred to as the apathetic generation and in most cases, the generation that is not worth engaging with because we are less likely to vote.
Thursday’s high turnout among young people in the European Union (EU) referendum proved the contrary, which is that we have always been and are interested in issue-based politics, but not necessarily party politics.
However, as young people we are disenfranchised even when we vote.
An overwhelming 75 per cent of young people voted to remain in the EU but yet again our voices were not the determining factor. Our elders have once again decided what is best for our future. This has been the common theme over the past decades, which have seen some of the most unrepresentative and disproportionately hard-hitting policies affecting young people most.
The increase in tuition fees, scrapping of the EMA and the introduction of austerity measures have all limited the chances of young people obtaining a good level of education, getting a good quality job and buying their dream home.
If you thought that the above policies wasn’t bad enough and not representative of your views, our elders have now also told us that leaving the EU would also be better for our future even though it will affect us more.
A week before the EU referendum, Nick Clegg told MyLifeMySay (MLMS) that “if anything only young people aged between 16 – 24 should be allowed to vote because the consequences will be on their shoulders not the other age groups”.
We have just lost the right to live, study, train and volunteer in Europe that are fully funded by the EU. So, in case you had any hope of developing your linguistic, work and life skills – it is now gone down the drain!
Oh wait, I got an idea. Maybe, they can use the 350 million we send to the EU every week to help us? Don’t hold your hope for that either. Nigel Farage confirmed on Good Morning Britain that it was a ‘mistake’ to promise extra funding to the NHS within an hour or so of the results being declared.
My generation has never known not to be without the EU. We enjoy living in an era whereby we share many common values and interests’ of those across Europe. The horrific terrorist attacks that took place in Paris and Brussels were not exclusively towards France and Belgium, but an attempt to destroy our values and divide us by turning us against each other. And, I fear that we have played right into their hands.
However, we do live in a democracy and have to accept the public’s verdict on the EU referendum. Let’s use this as an opportunity to continue our conversations and evolve relationships between young people and decision-makers to ensure that we get the best deal for our generation in the negotiation process.