Why should the youth of Britain vote Bremain?

June 04, 2016

Following Wetherspoon’s latest beer mat stunt, I thought I too would throw in my two cents about the upcoming referendum. Because of course, nothing screams a fair argument like taking propaganda and shoving it down the throats of the drunken lower social class in ways pretty reminiscent of The Sun, don’t you think? Taking it right back to Year 10 English class, I’m here to write to inform you of my main reasons to vote remain and to persuade you to vote the same on June 23rd (and make my English teacher mum proud.)

As a student, I am extremely worried; both campaigns seem to have completely alienated the younger voters, appealing rather to the older generation who have lived in the country longer. To state the bleak truth, it’s this generation which have a lot less time in the country, so this is all seems a bit silly. According to data from YouGov, 65% of over 60 year olds want to selfishly drag this country away from an EU membership and take away our future. 73% of 18-29 year olds intend to vote remain, but if we look back at when our current government were elected, they only won due to 24% of the eligible vote. Our voting system is undemocratic and unjust- if the youths of this country refrain from voting, it will be the older generation who make the decision on our behalves and gambling away our future. (To my fellow Year abroad students, making a proxy vote is incredibly simple, instructions can be found here.)

My first argument to Bremain is that the Brexit campaign is disgustingly xenophobic and racist- having abandoned all economic arguments, the Vote Leave side of things can only rely on scaremongering tactics. Led by justice secretary Michael Gove and supported by Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and a few more great men who have your best interests at heart, Vote Leave appear to be doing their very best to play on the worst fears and stereotypes one could imagine. I was appalled to see in March that a dossier of murders and rapes committed by 50 EU criminals in Britain had been published by the Brexit campaign, because you know, murder and rape doesn’t happen all over the world. Arguing that Britain will have more control of it’s borders if we pull out- and this sort of thing wouldn’t happen- they seem to have neglected to mention that using the European Arrest Warrant 7,000 suspects had been deported from the UK and hundreds have been brought back to face justice. Leaving the EU would mean that only good British criminals could commit those crimes, because that’s definitely better.

Furthermore, as most of you probably know, I am currently completing a year abroad in Spain. Being part of the EU, I am allowed to partake easily in the ERASMUS+ scheme which means I can work, study, train etc. in Europe whilst receiving funding and not have to worry about visa support and closed borders. Leaving the EU would mean that the ERASMUS mobility would cease to exist in the UK any longer- more than 200,000 UK students and 20,000 University staff have spent time abroad through this scheme. From a slightly sentimental view point, I have had the opportunity to live the best year of my life, thanks to Erasmus; developing a language, learning new skills etc. From a more economic point of view, not only would we lose almost the €1bn allocated to the UK over the next seven years but we’d also lose a generation of worldly students whose experience could create some of the best thinkers of Europe.

From the same travelling perspective, closed borders would mean you couldn’t pack up and move to Benidorm for cheap shots and some vitamin D whenever you feel like it. The owners of Ryanair and Easyjet have already warned that flight costs will ascend due to restrictions on border control. As a youth of the country, the EU legislation on free movement of citizens is something I feel we have taken for granted because it’s always been in place for us. About two million UK expatriates are currently living in other EU countries and as long as Britain remains in the union, their pension and healthcare rights will be protected. This comfortable position means that they receive their pension, free healthcare and have the right to work and own property in Europe, as well as to claim benefits. If we left the union, the arrangements would cease to automatically apply- and then what? And then a giant leap into an abyss, that’s what.

The EU is far from perfect, I understand this yet I find the idea of leaving the EU much worse. Like most things, it has flaws, but in order to correct these issues we must remain inside rather than turn our backs. Brexiters peddle the idea of a self sufficient utopia, free from the shackles of immigration and bureaucracy. “We did it before the war, we can do it again now” is a sentiment I read recently. Here’s my opinion- the UK, alone, is a small and unremarkable island, famous for a once supposedly ‘mighty’ empire which thrived from stealing, slavery and pillaging. The world has changed and an isolated UK would find it difficult to re-establish itself today.

Of course, there are many many more reasons why the UK would do better to remain, these are the ones however which personally dominate my decision. To really change the world, however, we have to help change the way people see things- misunderstanding immigration, for example, is too dangerous and something the Leave campaign is happily abusing. I plead and beg that this blog post nudges my fellow generation to go out and vote on June 23rd in order to fully secure our position in Europe.

For a better UK, a better Europe, a better world, a Bremain is best.

P.S I’ve kept this post as simple as I can, referencing as few confusing figures as possible however if you are looking for clarification on my sources, further data etc, I’d be more than happy to let you know.
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