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The gloomy reality of the EU Referendum


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If you haven’t been living under a rock, you will know by now that the UK has made the decision to leave the European Union.

My first thoughts when I woke up were of utter shock, anger and confusion as to how this had happened. I like many, felt assured that the 24/7 news banner would flag up ‘remain’ this morning.

We must remember firstly, before we slate either side, that it was David Cameron who took this huge risk to appease the Eurosceptic back benchers and ease the divides within his party. He knew the risks and he took them.

That risk allowed Leave to win with 52% of the vote, a 52% that has been gained through populism and lies.

But who voted for this? According to a YouGov poll, the support for remain decreased with age. 75% 18-24 year olds voted remain, 56% 25-49 year olds supported remain, 44% 50-64 year olds voted remain whilst just 39% over 65’s voted remain.

It is undeniable that this referendum was in part, decided by a group of people, aged over 65, who may already be settled into retirement age. There is something deeply unfair about the future of our generation being taken into the hands of those who may not live to experience the effects of the referendum. This is in no way saying that the over 65s should no longer have a legitimate voice in UK politics, but that their influence over the outcome of the referendum is indisputable.

The consequences of leaving the EU weigh heavy. Already the pound has dropped to its lowest in 31 years. We face years of uncertainty with the economy, no real ‘exit plan’, isolation and as students we will have our mobility hindered as the Erasmus programme may come to an end.

The EU referendum has further repercussions for the ‘United Kingdom’. In Scotland, the result was overwhelmingly remain and as we were warned all along it seems apparent that they will push for Independence once more. Sturgeon has already stated that Scotland’s future is in the EU.

As somebody who is sceptical of the EU from a leftist standpoint, my decision to vote to stay within the European Union came in part from my position as an English student in Scotland. It is a real worry for myself and no doubt other English students in Scotland that our tuition fees will soar as a result of the referendum and the subsequent referendums it may trigger.

The leave viewpoint have referenced throughout the campaign that countries may follow the UK if it exits the EU in attempt to enforce some feeling of unity with other disgruntled nations. Take The Netherlands and France, both anticipated to consider EU exits in the wake of our own. What has failed to be mentioned is that these countries hold their antagonism towards the EU on flags emblazoned with hard right colours.

Do we really want to be the island that inspired the causes of far right demagogues across Europe? We are not paving the path for freedom, we are laying the foundations for hatred.

As the resignation of Cameron looms above us, let us not forget that those who will compete in the race for leadership have built themselves up on hatred and lies that play upon the fears, hearts and minds of a confused country. If we believe that Gove or Johnson are the legitimate alternative, we couldn’t be more wrong.

The Brexit campaign have, by their own admission, run a campaign on lies, as Nigel Farage demonstrated by backtracking on the £350m he promised to the NHS. Farage’s populist ‘man of the people’ stance has dangerously played upon the disenfranchised.

It is for this reason that we must not turn on those who voted Leave. It is not all clouded ignorance and racism as we may be so quick to perceive; this is the voice of the marginalised and disenfranchised who have been so frequently ignored in British politics and have found their alternative.

What now? We need to put aside our differences, work together to sew the divides and progress forward.


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