It looks like young voters are going to swing it. The demographic which is statistically least likely to vote could hold the key to whether the UK stays in or steps out of the EU.
The Remain campaign are convinced that the bulk of young voters, if they vote at all, will vote with them. They’ve rolled out a host of big beasts who are calling on young voters to march to the polls and courageously, decisively vote to not change anything.
I’m not convinced that Stronger In have got the selection process right for these modern day political pied pipers. Eddie Izzard has a big youth following but Ed Miliband and Neil Kinnock? Really?
Remain’s lazy assumption that they have the youth vote leaves an exposed flank which could be their undoing. Talking to younger voters I hear that they feel that Remain is good for jobs, good for international study, and good for easy and cheap travel. As Jacob Rees-Mogg would put it the arguments are “pretty thin gruel”.
Not only are these trade deals not in place, the EU has maintained the most unfair and exploitative trade practices. In 2014 Germany made more money from coffee than the whole of Africa, a situation driven in large part by the grossly unfair tariff barriers put in place to protect the German coffee industry. EU trade tariffs, farming subsidy regime and dumping of surpluses has been instrumental in keeping some of the world’s poorest farmers in poverty. Worse than that, it uses our tax money to do it. When young voters hear that poor British people pay for rich European agri-businesses to keep poor African farmers poor, they tend to think less well about maintaining that status quo.
Sovereignty looks like it will be the dog that didn’t bark in this referendum and yet it is an issue which should make the young sit up and take notice. The Labour Remain campaign keeps saying that the EU has prevented the nasty Tory government doing its nasty Tory stuff. Taking the left wing weasel words out of that, they are making the point that the EU prevents democratically elected governments from governing. Once again I’m not convinced that this is a great sales pitch.
The EU wants to converge, create a more powerful centre and less powerful national governments, we hear the words “United States of Europe” and shudder, most of our continental cousins hear it and smile. If we vote to stay in the EU we are implicitly giving a green light to that convergence, that loss of sovereignty and that loss of UK national government authority. Young people should make sure they register, make sure they vote and make sure they vote to leave the EU because this could be the last vote they have that really makes a difference.
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