One of the most relentless assertions from the People’s Vote campaign is the belief that older voters have somehow ‘stolen the future’ of the UK’s young.
Day-in day-out, the false narrative that all young people wish to remain shackled to a failing political union is pumped out across the media.
I admit, this false narrative has been effective. People now accept without question that all young people are demanding a second referendum. The fact is, millions of young Leavers have been allowed to be claimed as the possession of the “People’s Vote” simply because the Leave campaigns have allowed them to do so- unchallenged.
Millions of young Leavers have been overlooked. The last two years have seen astonishing complacency from the major leave campaigns. In fairness, our arguments had already won the referendum, why would there have been any need to continue with the promotion of Brexit?
Nevertheless, since June 2016, the various Remain campaigns have been mobilising to water down Brexit. That’s why I founded Students For Brexit: a campaign that would not only aim to create a supportive cross-party community for young Leavers and re-Leavers to network and build friendships, but also to create campaign groups in universities across the UK that would host a range of events from talks and socials to street stalls and petitions as part of our #GlobalFuture initiative – our positive campaign to secure an open, international and truly global UK following Brexit.
Militant Remainers blame the “theft” of their future on older voters, and they shockingly claim that they have less of a stake in the country’s future. It’s true that Brexit will affect my generation the most, but that doesn’t mean that we should viciously attack the very generations who have built the fantastic country in which we live today.
Brexit gives us the precious opportunity to change the direction of our country forever. The UK should be a truly international and outward-looking country after Brexit, not a country that has turned its back on our allies and simply sets its sights no further than the outer borders of Europe. We think internationally, and no one ever speaks up for those of us who see Brexit as part of establishing a truly global future. We’ve allowed a false narrative to be built against internationalists like ourselves, it’s about time we stand up and challenge it.
The main benefit of leaving the European Union is the newfound ability to trade freely with the world. By escaping the shackles of the EU’s protectionist trade policy, the UK can pursue its own destiny in the world, becoming a country that promotes the staggering benefits of voluntary trade and cooperation.
If we are to secure Brexit, we must be ready to take the positive, global, message to young people across the UK- we can no longer rely on the “grey” vote, and why should we? Brexit is a fantastic opportunity, and we need to be able to convince young people like ourselves that Brexit will be far from the dystopian nightmare that many of them have been led to believe. Brexit hangs in the balance, and university campuses are the new battlegrounds.
Universities are propaganda powerhouses for EU membership. The false claims that Brexit will mean that students can no longer study abroad are often used to terrify students into staying silent on the Brexit debate. If lecturers are allowed to make these claims unchallenged, it’s no wonder that most students believe these falsehoods.
You never hear that only one-third of the £13.9 billion budget is actually spent on higher education. You never hear that only 0.5% of all UK students actually rely on Erasmus+ to study abroad. You never hear that the UK does not have to be part of the EU to participate in Erasmus+. This is the problem, until now, the leave campaigns have been allowing this bias to exist by writing off the youth vote completely,
It’s not just about delivering Brexit, it’s about promoting the benefits of a global UK long after Brexit. It is now our duty as young Leavers to stand up for the international future which Brexit will deliver. We must be ready to take the positive, global vision of an open, international post-Brexit Britain throughout universities across the country.
University campuses are the new battlegrounds in the battle for Brexit. It is there that the Brexit dream will either be won, or lost forever. Let’s act now before it’s too late.
Robert Langley is a Politics student at King’s College, London and the Founder & Chair of Students for Brexit. Follow him on twitter: @RobertHLangley