Britain: busted by the Baby Boomers but there’s still hope

Our generation’s unity is Brexit’s silver lining.

Brexit Cambridge EU referendum european union Opinion politics Students

On Friday morning, my Mum woke me up at 6 before I went into work, with the news that against all the odds, Brexit had happened.

I didn’t believe her. I literally laughed. There was no way it actually happened. 99% of the people I knew had voted remain and logic was on our side. The only people I had seen out campaigning on Thursday had been remain campaigners. But then, I live and work in Oxford – one of the three major centres of the pro-Remain vote in England, with the other two being London and Cambridge.

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Oxford: pro-Remain

I barely processed the information throughout the day. Shock, anger and fear flooded the internet, and these same emotions pervaded the atmosphere on the streets in Oxford. As hour after hour passed, shock was replaced with a strangely empty, sinking feeling. As the news of crashing financial markets and the real extent of the immediate damage facing the UK reached us, and the true horror set in, I could not help but repeatedly ask myself: ‘What have we done?’

Like many others, the result unexpectedly even brought me to tears.

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Britain, why?

But you know all this already. It’s all you’ve heard for the past 48 hours, and will likely continue to hear for many months to come. So enough of this despair.

Enough because, in all this, there is yet a glimmer of hope for those of us in the under 25s age group. That 75% voted to remain should encourage us. It tells us is that we, unlike our elders, were the most united of any age group in this referendum.

Though we had many different reasons for voting to remain – from the progressive laws supporting the least fortunate in society to the incredible economic importance of the common market – we agree that there is strength and solidarity in engaging, conversing and ultimately uniting with Europe. It’s a continent with whom we share so much already, and with whom we have travelled so far over the course of the past 43 years.

This solidarity is vitally important, and we must not lose it. As political journalist Nicholas Barrett put it, the vote to leave was a ‘parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors’. 

We are unlucky. Unlike our parents, we now enter our 20s saddled with debts, with the prospect of never being able to afford to buy a house. We are so disregarded and misunderstood by the current Westminster elite that the Remain campaign deemed it necessary to patronise us with a truly laughable campaign video – to update you, we thought the result was ‘shockin’, and now we’re all ‘cryin’.

We must seize this mutual outlook for a better, forward-looking future as our greatest strength.

Ultimately, we are the future – and our voice is that much louder if we remain united in the face of this truly shocking turn of events.