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A 17-year-old's perspective on Brexit

A 17-year-old's perspective on Brexit

I waited up all night to see the Brexit vote come through. 

I’ve always been interested in elections and was eager to hear a remain win announced.

Unfortunately, this was not to be as the leave vote swiftly stole the early lead that the remain vote had initially grown. Going to bed with the leave vote hundreds of thousands ahead, I woke up to what was now an inevitable win for the Eurosceptics.

It was clear immediately that my peers, and possibly all of those at my school, were not pleased. Although many had not shown the most interest in politics previously, everyone was now overcome with anger, upset, and a deep fear for their futures.

There was a particular anger directed towards the elder generations, many students including myself were asking teachers who they voted for, with a shocked and sometimes appalled reaction if they admitted their pro-Brexit values.

Two years on, it's arguable that this anger is justified.

I still see articles bashing the elderly for destroying future generations' hopes and dreams, with headlines exclaiming that over 65s were twice as likely to vote out of the EU than under 25s

I always accepted the decision, not being a particularly rebellious teenager and feeling as though a second referendum would destroy future turnout numbers.

However, that’s not say there aren’t questions to ask of the arbitrary age parameters put on elections. This may be a repeated narrative, but the fact that 16 and 17 year olds can marry, join the army, and even become parents, before being allowed to vote is insane to anyone of my age.

I feel the sense of under 18s being disinterested in politics still remains in many politicians and most adults. This is simply not true in the 21st century and rather hypocritical considering that the all-important Brexit vote received a turnout of only 72%. 

With social media and the expanse of the internet, our age group has never been more invested in their political beliefs, which makes it even more astounding that I cannot vote and contribute to ‘democracy’.

The greatest absence of justice shown by the lack of voting rights for under 18s is prevalent when realising how the brunt of the impact will be taken by the younger generations. 

Not only do we fear the short term, with some of my friends wondering how Brexit will impact possible university applications to EU member states, but the main concern is for our working life, and what job opportunities we will have in the future.

As someone interested in finance, seeing several of the largest banks, such as Goldman Sachs and Barclays, announcing plans to move operations out the UK is deeply troubling.

This is especially aggravating bearing in mind that a vast quantity of leave voters voted based on social issues, as opposed to economic.

Furthermore, in regards to these social issues, I still side strongly with remaining in the EU, and with a large proportion of youth supporting Corbyn and his pro-immigration views, it’s fair to say this is true for most currently at my age.

Aside from the argued economic benefits of immigration and having a multicultural society, socially I not only accept but enjoy the combination of peoples and cultures scattered throughout the UK.

This is possible because, unlike elder generations, we have interacted with immigrants through our schools and have built relationships, realising the benefit of these people to the diversification of the country. 

As it stands, I am in support of a softer Brexit, and the delays to the process do not worry me, but instead give me a false hope that we could actually end up remaining.

My previous focus on the situation has died down as multiple talks and negotiations continue to produce limited progress, but the chance of an imminent Brexiteer government takeover is certainly a cause for concern.

With characters such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg rising within the Tory party, I’ll have to wait anxiously to see where our government is heading.  

Jacob Bernbaum (pictured) is a 17-year old student studying economics, maths and geography at University College School. He has just finished the first year of his A-levels and is on work experience with Citywire.   



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