I tend to keep out of the political sphere. I always make an effort to vote, as I feel that is a hugely important part of our democracy but normally how I vote is not something I publicly declare. However, the result of the EU referendum, which is quite possibly the biggest and most important political decision, certainly of my lifetime, has left me questioning the country in which I call home.
Let me start by saying, I totally respect the outcome of the referendum. Everyone has a right to vote freely, without interference, pressure or fear (were eligible to do so), that is one of the foundations of modern democracy and that is something I support wholeheartedly. Our democracy, although not perfect, is something to be applauded.
All of this aside, the outcome of the referendum is not what I was hoping for, and in fact it makes me greatly angry. As a young person, this one vote has made me lose so much (providing it is ratified by parliament). We have lost:
- The freedom to cross borders without visas, to work, to live, to make friends and to spend time in the unique and amazing places all over Europe.
- The international image that the UK is a world leader in having an understanding, inclusive, outward looking and modern way of life, free from discrimination, racism and sexism. (Of which, I do wonder is even true after some of the leave campaign comments and general views of people expressed in the media)
- Huge amounts of foreign investment which supports so many jobs and families.
- The value of our currency.
All of this at the hands of the generations older than us who don’t realise how lucky they have been. Young people like myself have been robbed by those who have bled the nation’s finances dry, with their free education and large pensions, to have the future we wanted. Life inside the EU is all we have ever known, we have grown up in the world where immigration is not only widespread but massively positive. I have so many amazing friends, some have moved here from other EU countries, these people are skilled and passionate and my life would not have been the same without them. Those “brexiters” will say we don’t know how things used to be, and how great they can be again – but did they ever consider we where happy as things were now?
Not only this but I’m anxious for the future. The United Kingdom’s entire identity is on the line. The division lines between constituent countries has been revealed to run deep, I can’t help but feel that the strength of the union is going to be tested, not only in Scotland but in Northern Ireland too. I am a great supporter of respecting the will of the people (as I said previously), and as such I entirely support the breakup of the union if that is what the people of its constituent countries desire. As someone who grew up in Northern Ireland and the place the majority of my family still reside, the prospect of a hard border and the possibility of unsettling the peace process is a horrible, horrible thought.
We have no choice but to respect the voice of the entire electorate as a whole, but I can’t help but feel that like everything else, it is young people who will suffer the most!
There may be some day in the future, when the younger generations have a majority and decide once again we should become part of the EU, and I can only hope that our European counterparts will forgive our older generations mistakes and allow us once again to be a proud nation inside the European Union.