Tuesday 31 October 2017

Brexit, the slap across the face

As a 25-year-old entrepreneur living in London, I am aware that Brexit will have the biggest impact on my generation, whether this is for better or for worse. We will be the ones forced to live the entirety of our lives with the decisions made by the government and any implications that may accompany this. Brexit will be a gamble… one that we did not want then or now.


As a millennial, it is terrifying to see where our country is going. On the one hand you see Brexiteers demanding that we respect ‘democracy’ and on the other, you have those same people attacking and vilifying anyone that raises a slight doubt about Brexit’s outcome. You have media superpowers like the Daily Mail branding the judges on the Brexit court case ‘enemies of the people’ just because their verdict did not fit into the Brexit agenda; now, that same paper is attempting to launch a witch hunt against all academics critical of Brexit. The referendum may have been democratic, but the events after that have occurred since have been everything but.

When the referendum results came in and we could see the age split, it was painfully clear that most under 30’s did not want Brexit. A year down the line and not much has changed. Young people still want to see themselves as part of Europe. They are concerned about the economic pressures they face with housing, jobs, and education.

My company provides a variety of workshops and programmes around political literacy and leadership, as well as issue-based resources. This year we were commissioned by Brunel University and the Britain in Europe think-tank to run 30 workshops in 30 schools across the UK to get young people thinking and talking about their human rights. This showcased a clear issue - that young people are also worried about the social implications of Brexit on their rights and the building of a tolerant and inclusive society.

Considering the large number of attacks on ethnic minority communities in the UK post-referendum, it’s not too far-fetched to see why. The building of a collaborative society that works together and tolerates all cultures and religions is very much a European ideal as much as it is British. Considering our actions after the referendum, one can only imagine how Britain will be for non-Brits once we actually leave.

However, a slightly more worrying trend we are seeing from our 2,000 writers, our readers and all the schools we work with, is anger. Anger at the hypocrisy of it all. Anger that despite claims of ‘respecting democracy’, the Brexit process has been a shambles. The campaign was plagued with outright lies from some of the highest ministers currently in office. Deluded and ill-informed voting was made by a proportion of population dreaming of a return of the British Empire, without real consideration of their consequences. A clear power-grab was made by Theresa May through "Henry VIII" powers. Finally, considerable anger was expressed by 16- and 17-year-olds, denied the chance to vote on something that will definitely impact their lives.

It is clear we are facing a huge inter-generational divide, with an ever more frustrated and angry millennial generation who feel ignored, pushed aside and discounted, despite them being the ones who will inherit Britain.


Matteo Bergamini is founder of Shout Out UK.

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