People hold placards during a rally.
That’s not the future that young Brits want. And that’s not the country young Brits want. In 2016, Brexit was four words: Leave the European Union. Right now it’s a 585-page treaty that most Brexit voters hate. We’re marching to demand the right to tear up the blank cheque our country signed in 2016 because now it’s been filled in, we can all see the numbers don’t add up.
So let’s semi-forget the economic arguments for a second. There are only two versions of Brexit left on the table. Both would rip our country apart in ways it would take generations to fix.
The deal we’ve just spent two years negotiating is hated by both Leave and Remain voters alike. Leave voters wanted more control. This deal means that instead of having three times the voting weight of the average EU country which we currently have, we’ll be following the rules of the EU, but with no say at all. Obviously Remain voters don’t like it because, well, they’re Remain voters.
What would that mean for our society? You’re already seeing it. Leave voters are blaming Remain voters for the bad deal. So if we leave the EU on those terms we’ll have a generation of “Remainers ruined Brexit and trashed our sovereignty”. And Remainers won’t just sit there and take it. They’ll be screaming “You voted to do this to our country and you’re blaming us!” And that won’t go away because we will permanently be in a position that is the exact opposite to what most Brexit voters actually wanted.
Let’s look at no deal. There have been lots of arguments about no deal. A lot of them get called project fear. That’s unfortunate and we need to deal with the distrust of experts when we’re past this, but what I find everyone agrees with is this: no deal would make us the only major economy in the world without a trade deal with its neighbouring countries.
Even Donald Trump initially left Canada and Mexico out of his trade war last year. Nobody can legitimately argue that doing something every successful economy in the world has chosen specifically not to do won’t make us poorer. Now, if the country is made poorer, who will suffer most? Those who already have the least.
Especially those areas that voted for Brexit. That’s the heart-breaking thing. It took the Brexit vote to wake people like myself up to how angry people are, across the country, at the metropolitan focus of UK politics and the need for a massive shift in investment to create jobs and improve transport infrastructure in those areas.
If you’re born in Hull, you do not have the same opportunities in life as someone born in Greater London. But it’s the Hulls, the Sunderlands and the Swanseas which would suffer most. And unless we fix the national dialogue to recognise why those areas voted for Brexit, there will be a lot of salt rubbed in the wounds that Brexit creates. That’s because we’ll all be poorer and looking for people to blame.
So under both Brexit scenarios our society is irreparably broken. That’s not the future young people want. That’s why we’re marching; to declare loudly and clearly that we demand and deserve better than that.
We want to fix the regional inequalities that fuelled the Brexit vote so that the country works for the whole country. We want a bright future where young Brits from all backgrounds can work in 31 European countries, rather than see that privilege restricted to those making over £30,000.
Young people voted overwhelmingly against Brexit. Now the negotiations are over and we can all see what the Brexit options are, we’re marching to demand a say on them. Parliament and the politicians have had several. Give the people just one.
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