My generation will pay the price of Brexit

by Milo Mallaby | 23.07.2018

“Leave it to us, dear.”

That’s what a friend of mine, campaigning the week before the Brexit referendum in 2016, was told by a voter five times her age. The woman who opened the door intended to vote to leave the EU. My friend was canvassing for Remain.

The Brexit vote was brought about largely by an older generation. Over 65s were more than twice as likely as under 25s to have voted leave. Yet they won’t feel the full impact of their decision. Instead it is my generation that will have to suffer its consequences for years to come.

We will be economically worse off; our national institutions will suffer without crucial EU talent; and we will find it much harder to study or live in the EU. What’s more, we won’t have the opportunity to right the wrong. Once we’ve left, we won’t be welcomed back. In leaving this decision to our elders – the most fundamental choice put to the country in 40 years, if not much longer – it is the future of my generation that has been imperilled.

Petition: We, The People, demand a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal.

Click here to sign

Some people might say that young people could have stopped Brexit. Turnout was lower among younger voters and thus the result might have been different if only more had bothered voting. However, to someone who was 15 at the time of the vote, such an argument ignores the vast swathe of the country that couldn’t cast a ballot just because of when they were born.

While I grudgingly accept that a minimum voting age is a good idea, it is frankly insulting to be told that I shouldn’t be able to vote because I am immature. Many people of voting age didn’t even know what the EU was or what it does. I think I would have been just as able to weigh up the arguments and make a decision as anyone else. I was not able to vote, but that does not make the frustration go away that I felt as I watched in anger as the first results trickled in on June 23, 2016.

Now I must witness my fears unfold. The lies that the Leave campaign sold have unravelled. And as the threat of a disastrous ‘no deal’ scenario draws ever closer, the government is in chaos. By incessant manoeuvring to position themselves for an inevitable leadership election, Tory politicians are ruining the country’s prospects. Yet this was all too predictable. The lies told during the referendum campaign were known lies even then. That Brexiters are only now admitting that the post-Brexit dreamland they envisaged is unworkable, is a disgrace. Something must be done to right the path of the country, for my generation and the next.

I was told to trust my elders. I was told to leave it to them. Yet they have failed me. My future is less bright than it was. The only hope I have left is for a People’s Vote. At least this time, I might be able to go to the ballot box, and I know what I’d choose.

Edited by Quentin Peel

Tags: , Categories: Brexit

6 Responses to “My generation will pay the price of Brexit”

  • Age of those who will be most influenced not taken in account; indeed a very valid point. But what about those foreign citizens who lived in this country several decades, worked, paid their taxes, brought up their children, now being a sort of second-rank citizens who must leave their future in the hands of a clearly highly inept government. This country is carving out a name for itself that is very similar to what German citizens had to endure for a long time after WWII. And yes, it’s your generation that will bear the brunt of it.

  • Go Milo Mallaby!
    Great picture and great article.
    Key fact “Over 65s more than twice as likely as under 25s to have voted leave”.
    It was the oldies who voted leave. Very significant for politicians as many leave voters have since died and future voters hate Brexit.
    See Nick Kent’s analysis “Ignoring Older voters is perilous for pro Europeans.

  • Britain today is like Britain in 1914. Full of people bored with their comfortable lives, spoiling for a fight with the enemy across the channel. Waving their flags and oblivious to the destruction ahead. Rees-Mogg and his merry crew are like the First World War generals, far from the front line and secure with their investments abroad, only too happy to send young people over the top, sacrificing their jobs in the glorious name of…what exactly? Sovereignty? Or their own egos, more like. The flower of the nations youth, cut down in their prime, egged on by ancient politicians.

    And as before, the only ones to profit from the damage to Europe will be countries like America. But this time, God willing we have the chance to stop history repeating itself. A people’s vote.

  • It seems to me that the most immature people in this horrendous affair are the Brexiters of all ages, including politicians like Johnson, Rees-Moog, Gove, Fox et al. They are obviously unable to work alongside and in harmony with each other, never mind our fellow European neighbours.

  • Well said King John! A perfect description of our current situation. A collective madness has descended on Westminster and it’s fitness to govern now questionable. This has to be the most arrogant and incompetent government I have ever come across in my life .If this Westminster government was a person…a section order would have to be taken out on them for their own protection to stop them self harming.