The months leading up to the EU referendum were madness. I had recently turned 15 and every day I’d see Nigel Farage caught up in some controversy, along with Boris Johnson and the rest of the self-described ‘Brexiteers’. It was unfathomable to me that these people were being offered platforms whilst simultaneously stirring up hatred, xenophobia and division.
There was a lot of anger. Many felt abandoned by the very politicians who were supposed to have made their lives better. They were rightly fed-up. However, I started to become concerned when rifts formed in my relationships, even with my own father over his anti-immigrant, anti-EU rhetoric – the very same rhetoric peddled by Farage as he stood in front of that infamous ‘breaking point’ billboard.
Charisma and oration, it seemed, were now valued higher than fact. When this happens, democracies are threatened.
Is this what we want for our country?
On 23 June 2016, I believed that the British people would choose to remain in the European Union. On the morning of the 24th, I was proven wrong. I was sad, disappointed, even scared for the future.
Almost half a century of integration with our European neighbours, where disputes were resolved across tables rather than with the barrel of a gun, had been thrown away in an instant. We were set to lose joint intelligence sharing, leaving our national security vulnerable; funding for schools and communities that needed it most; access to the Single Market, which would decimate British industry and trash our economy. The list is endless.
Over the last three years it has been proven that Brexit is not as simple as ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’. During my final year at secondary school, Theresa May called a snap election, seeking a mandate from the British people for delivering Brexit. She failed.
The frustration with those in power grew among my friends as we began to become more actively involved in politics. Brexit, climate change and home ownership were just some of the issues on the horizon. Those in Westminster were clearly out of touch. They were attempting to mould the future of our country around hearsay and uncertainty.
Unfortunately for those who wish to silence my generation – the generation labelled ‘lazy’ and patronised for ‘lacking life experience’ – we have a voice and we are going to be heard. Extinction Rebellion, People’s Vote, Our Future Our Choice are all testament to the fact that we will stand up for what we believe in. We have witnessed unprecedented levels of incompetence and negligence from those in power, chasing disastrous constitutional changes with no idea how to do so. Well, my generation are fighting back. Hard.
Now I am 18. Unsurprisingly, we have failed to leave the EU (because it’d be a complete disaster), but we have lost two Prime Ministers. We are on our third, and this one wants to run down the clock in order to crash the UK out of the EU on 31 October. Is this really what we want for our country? This was not on the ballot. There is no mandate for this form of Brexit, Mr Johnson.
The people need the final say
People who voted leave are realising they have been misled. Young people like myself who are now able to vote should have our voices heard. We’re stuck between a governing party that can’t agree on what Brexit means, and an official opposition still fantasising about their own version of Brexit. Both are horrendous for our country.
We young people will be heard.
We say: Stop Brexit.
Why? We are better off as members of the European Union. This is a message people are getting behind. The tides are turning. The people should have the final say.
I’m certain, that with a mountain of new information and damning evidence people will vote to remain in the European Union. We are sick of being lied to, misled, demeaned for daring to speak out. It’s more important than ever that we make ourselves heard, as this Kamikaze government edges us closer to a disastrous, undemocratic, crash-out Brexit.
Together, we will make a difference. Together we will rescue our United Kingdom. Let’s stop Brexit, then come together and tackle the issues as a unit.