We asked the older generation why they’re voting to leave the EU

‘The EU is an opaque undemocratic bureaucracy’

Polls in recent months have suggested that the majority of over 50s will be voting to leave the EU. In fact, a recent guardian poll showed that more than half of over 55s will be choosing to vote leave in the EU referendum come June 23rd.

On the other hand, 53% of UK residents aged 18-34 will be voting remain, although students and graduates are least likely to vote at all.

But why does the older generation want to leave so badly? In reality, they’re the only demographic that have experienced life outside the EU before the UK joined the European community in 1973. Who knows, maybe they’ve just had enough.

We talked to our older relatives and friends to find out what their reasons were for leaving the EU.

Dilip, 52, retired


“I’m leaving the EU as I cannot see any benefit of staying in. We pump far more money into it than we get back. I’m not against immigration but I don’t like the idea of open borders especially with the threat of global terrorism. The government can’t handle immigration now under their own nose, so how are they going to do anything when someone sitting in Europe controls it?

“I doubt the economy will take a hit – we had a steady economy before the EU and we will do after. The only group that stand to benefit are some politicians and corporations – policy changes rarely benefit the hard-working man/woman.”

Jane, 57, charity worker

“I’m leaving because I’m concerned about TTIP. I’m concerned about the Rest of the EU economy and the Euro, and I’m worried that we’ve chained ourself to a sinking ship by sticking to the EU. The British economy is strong enough to stand on its own and our trade with European countries would continue.

“There may be an adjustment but I think it would be good for the British people to be more in control of their future. It would give people more of a sense of responsibility to build up the country for the future because at the moment people feel like the EU has more control.

“I also want us to be able to control immigration and have a points based immigration policy which would mean we’d be able to have more migrants with a broader range of skills that we need from around the world, not just Europe. I don’t want to live in a country run by Boris Johnson though, but I’d hope that people would have enough sense not to vote him in.”

Sean, 31, project engineer at Jaguar

“I would like the government to have better control over the economy and laws. Even though the impact to the company (Jaguar) and sales is uncertain, I feel that the UK can do with a lot more control.”

Premji, 70, retired


“It’s to do with being able to dictate our own policies more easily without having to conform to those of the EU. Britain should be independent, we don’t need anyone else. Also, trading would probably still happen with the UK even if we left the EU.”

David, 58

“The EU is an opaque undemocratic bureaucracy run by a self perpetuating unaccountable polygarchy with no intention of changing –  it will end in painful tears so LEAVE whilst we still can.

“Watched an amazing video last night on how the EU was founded by real serious Nazis, needs further sources, but chilling for clarity.

“Democracy requires the elected to be effective, accountable and connected to the electorate. Ask anyone to name their MEP. And they only rubber stamp laws originated by the commission. Enough!”

Richard, shipbroker

“I do not want to be controlled by bureaucrats in Brussels.”

Shane, 42, building site supervisor

“I feel this country needs to stand on its own two feet and not be dictated by Brussels, and I think we need to take control of our borders and monitor who’s coming in. We are paying billions on billions to Europe every year and not getting anything back.”

Ash, 43, HR assistant

Ash photo

“I don’t feel that Britain should be governed by the EU. When we joined the EU in the 1970s it was part of a trade agreement. Now it has a say in virtually every part of British life. Until now the British public have not been asked if we’d like to be governed in this way. Britain should have the absolute right to decide what laws it should follow in the best interests of the country, without any interference from other countries with which we sometimes have little in common.

“I am a huge fan of Europe and its culture, and have visited many parts of it. However, I believe Britain is its own country, history and future – working closely and continuing to trade with our friends in Europe – but Britain is strong enough to rule itself.”

Penny, 49, university professor

“The only reason I want to leave is to get a level playing field for people who want to work in the UK. We used to get funding from the EU to support our poor UK areas like Liverpool etc because they were comparatively poorer and needed support, but the more we take in poorer countries, the lower the standard drops, so we give money and don’t get any back to Liverpool.

“There are also problems of supremacy – we can vote in EU elections but nobody does really. But more importantly it’s all so bureaucratic and so behind closed doors you don’t know what the hell goes on; stuff is decided that should be the mandate of the country’s elected leaders.”