Young people screwed themselves over by not voting

Only a third of us bothered to take part


Are the younger generation justified in their anger? Or have we shot ourselves in the foot?

After Friday’s unexpected result burst onto the news at around 5am – the anger of the young flooded every social media platform possible. Old people have decided the future of the young, a future the young don’t want, was the claim.

With many of their working lives finished, the majority of the older generation opted to vote leave, leaving the young to deal with the consequences.

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All the charts proved it: the older the voter, the more likely they were to vote Leave. As a result, those who have to live with consequences for longest did not get their way, as 64 per cent of 18-24-year-olds voted to remain, not leave.

Mass youth anger was sparked across the country – but should all the blame be placed at the pensioners’ doors?

Of course, many of us voted Remain. But when Sky’s data team estimated turnout by age group, they found that a mere 36 per cent of 18-24s voted, compared to around 75 per cent of 45-54s, 81 per cent of 55-64s and 83 per cent of voters aged 65-plus.

The figures are below. As this post explains, it is an estimate based on what proportion of each age group told that pollster they were going to vote. But in the absence of a proper exit poll, it is the best estimate we’ve got.

In this light, it’s easy to see how the result swung in favour of leave at the last minute. Is it our indecision which has cost them? Shouldn’t young anger be directed not at the older generation’s decision, but at their contemporaries who failed to place a vote?

Perhaps some simply didn’t give it enough thought, assuming a “Remain” victory. With all the goings-on of life, it looks like some simply didn’t bother.

Interrupted by holidays and festivals, that figure suggests many just didn’t get round to it – somehow failing to summon the energy or a postal vote or to tick a box.

Looking at young non-voters, the question is “Why”?  Even with over 30 million voters and a 72 per cent turnout, the result means people feel tempted to flashback to the 2014 Scottish Referendum and call for 16 and 17 year olds to have a say.

After Friday’s drama, I’m sure people feel more politically engaged than ever. The ugly side of Britain has come to the fore and with it, an element of self-scrutiny as they can’t escape the Brexit-dominated media.

Consequently, many search their draws for that dusty foreign passport they haven’t used in a while, and wonder why they let Europe slip away – rather than having a say, and more importantly, having that say counted.

This story has been amended to further explain the sourcing of the 36 per cent figure.