I hate Brexit. The thought of it makes my stomach churn, the decomposition of my dream future makes me cry an ocean, the inability for our politicians to collaborate at such a pivotal time for our country makes anger flood my veins and the constant action of putting party before country makes me lose hope of a better, more altruistic politics. The impetuous decision made on 23rd June 2016 is something that I regularly look retrospectively at; whether it was the mass hysteria that was prevalent, the tumbling pound, or witnessing the then incumbent Prime Minister running away and refusing to clear up his own mess. Considering all of the events that have taken place and the dire economic predictions that have been made for a likely no deal Brexit, it is difficult to recognise a positive outcome of the past two and a half years. However now, more than ever, people of my generation are now questioning why the deck is stacked against them, and actually trying to do something to change that.
It has been apparent to me for some time that more and more young people are getting involved in trying to determine their own futures. I didn’t completely understand that fact however until a couple of days ago when I was at a BYC (British Youth Council) convention. I, along with other members of Youth Parliament and their deputies, had the opportunity to ask a panel of decision-makers from all sides of the spectrum any question relating to Young People’s issues (shoutout to Kira for making sure that it didn’t turn into the House of Commons on a Wednesday afternoon)! And, during that hour, the amount and the quality of the questions that were asked was just astonishing – every question was well researched, exhibited their passion for young people’s issues and certainly challenged the panelists. It was at that moment, in the front row of seats in that auditorium, that I fully understood the ardour that my generation now had.
Thinking about it, the momentum the People’s Vote campaign now has is astronomically bigger than what was seen after the referendum; what was merely an optimistic idea has now turned into a very likely and, in my opinion, would be a great solution to the current impasse that we are faced with – and the backbone of that campaign is made of young people.
As the incumbent government has torn itself apart over Brexit, more and more young people have realised how much this single issue has an unimaginable effect on the rest of their lives; it hasn’t been about picking a side and waiting until all hell breaks loose on 29th March, it’s been about so many young people breaking free from their thoughts that they have no voice and instead amplifying the voice that they have to an even greater extent.
Yet another example of how the young people of this country have been doing that is exhibited in the Youth Parliament’s annual Make Your Mark ballot. In 2018, over 1,000,000 young people took part in that ballot, the most that ever had; if that does not conspicuously show or epitomise the willing for young people to not just be heard but listened to, then I haven’t the faintest clue what does.
Another prime example being the Labour Party’s 2017 General Election campaign – Jeremy Corbyn’s pursuit of more radical socialist policies had not been seen on the British political scene for decades, at least not by a major political party; and it was that that filled young people with hope that the pillars of the establishment that had forever cast a shadow upon them was not “strong and stable”, but the antithesis of that. In fact, 60% of those aged 18-24 voted Labour, an increase from around 42% in 2015.
After these examples, it is not impossible to see how my generation is now the force for the change that this country so desperately needs. We are still the future, but we are also for the now and, although it pains me to compliment it, we have Brexit to thank for that. As much of an impulsive decision as it is, without that decision, our futures would continue to be decided for us and without our input.
Vote Leave’s slogan was ‘Take Back Control’ – perhaps they never knew how much would be ‘taken back’.