Brexit: the aftermath
This week, Theresa May confirmed that there would be no turning back with invoking the Lisbon Treaty. After June’s referendum result, the UK is set to leave the EU, a first in the organisation’s history.
The young population will undoubtedly be the ones experiencing the effects of the referendum result in the long run, for better or for worse. So what’s next for the majority of young people who voted to stay? Despite only 36% of young voters showing up to the polls on Referendum day, 75% of these voted to remain in the European Union. And what of the 25% who see the leave result as a positive? We speak to both sides to find out how they see their futures post referendum.
Seeking a new passport – Kerry and Jasmine
Kerry is a supply teacher who lives and works in Lancaster.
I’m looking at applying for an Irish passport when I have the money to; the family connection being my mum. Personally it’s less about what opportunities will come with an EU passport and more about using it as a show of solidarity. It’s a mini, personal revolt to the Brexit outcome. I still want to be a member of the EU and this is how I’m choosing to show it.
The EU is not democratic. But throwing a tantrum and storming off is not how we solve the problem. Groups like DiEM25 and WeMove.EU are making small but significant steps in the right direction. Backing these groups and giving more of a voice to experts such as Yanis Varoufakis would have been a good start. I fear that the effect leaving the EU will have on teaching will be devastating. On a personal level I’m already having to implicate and participate in practices I view as pointless and time consuming for both the children and myself. I fear this will only get worse. I had hoped to spend some of my summers in European countries teaching English but I may have to rethink that plan.
I hope there are some silver linings to the situation, but I think the Tories would turn a blind eye or try and blame it on other factors. It would be interesting to watch them squirm their way out of those statistics. The silver lining I’m trying to convince myself of is that our politicians will no longer have “Strict EU policies” to hide behind and lie about. It may just make our government more accountable for their actions. We never have to make the best of a bad situation. If we want change we can make it happen. We can make them listen, we just need to get organised enough to do it.
Jasmine is the former editor of The Gryphon. She is currently living in Manchester and studying for a master’s degree.
I’m applying for a Swedish passport as my Dad was born in Gothenburg. I’m applying because I want the freedom to travel and study in other countries within the EU, especially in Sweden, which is the place that accounts for half of my heritage. Someone once asked me how the vote would affect me, and I said ‘well I’m the daughter of an immigrant.’ They said ‘tough, shit, you’re English now.’ Delicately done.
By leaving the EU we have given up our right to negotiate with several major European powers that negotiate the way trade and social policies affect us on a global scale. I think we’ve really over exaggerated our position as a small country in the midst of the inevitability of globalisation. I doubt I would want to bring up my potential family in the UK now. To me, it’s wider than the economic ramifications of voting leave. It’s also the indication of general attitudes towards those who are anything but Anglo Saxon zealots. I want to see my children brought into a country that has reached the idea that borders and boundaries are man-made.
There’s going to be hordes of people applying for an EU passport now. There’s a gross disparity between the youth vote and the older vote, with many feeling betrayed by those who voted on some odd dividend of Empire sentimentalism, rather than the current world that we live in. It’s hard to plot what the government will do next because this situation is such an alien concept to me. – The one thing I hope to see out of Brexit is a nation that learns how to fix its mistakes. I hope that its at least bringing our generation together when we realise that racism does still exist, xenophobia is alive and well and that we have to actively advocate for diversity in our country.
Young, left-wing, and a leave voter – Rudi
Rudi is a former Leeds student and staunch Socialist who voted to leave the European Union.
The worst thing about the EU is unquestionably the thuggish imposition of rabidly free-market diktats from the centralised bureaucracy on member states. There are many examples but the most loathsome one is Ireland being forced to accept the Lisbon Treaty, which was teeming with pro-privatisation measures, having rejected it in a referendum in 2008. Unhappy that the foolish peasants failed to understand the free-market, the EU forced the Irish public to vote again until they accepted the treaty. This is not a ‘mistake’ or ‘imperfect’- it’s unambiguously dictatorial.
The worst thing a remain voter has said to me is that the EU is ‘imperfect’ or makes ‘mistakes’. In his 1946 essay Politics and the English Language, George Orwell wrote: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” At worst, Remainers attempted to cleanse the EU’s sins with slippery language; at best, they didn’t know about monstrously undemocratic acts like the aforementioned one.
Hearing someone justifying the Common Agricultural Policy’s pernicious flooding of African countries with heavily subsidised European produce, forcing the continent to import 80% of its food, on the basis that we’re better in and out shows Remainers would rather remain part of a neocolonial organisation than make a minimal dent to Britain’s GDP.
Extricating ourselves from free-market fanatics building an empire can only be a good thing. I didn’t think Brexit would usher in unprecedented egalitarianism, but I think my future’s looking better. My future happiness is intertwined with the futures of others whose material circumstances will improve now we’re out. A future Labour government now no longer has to worry about the Commission, European Court of Judges or Council of Ministers imposing its will to suit its needs. Protections against free-market fanaticism and workers’ rights existed before the EU and will continue to do so.
In the immediate short-term there will be a sense of loss mainly due to uncertainty over what will happen to funding, environmental protection etc. This was not a black and white issue- good things have come from the EU, like arts funding and tackling poor air quality levels- if for example arts funding ceases to come, it is up the government to provide funding and put arts at the centre of people’s lives again.
Overall the positives far outweigh the negatives – workers’ rights existed before the EU and will continue to exist after we’ve left. If a future Tory government threatens them, as they inevitably will do, then we have a better chance fighting them than the the Tories backed up by an unaccountable Commission. A future Labour government will also be able to bring industry under democratic workers’ control without the bureacracy impeding decision-making because a few corporations’ feelings were hurt.