Stopping Brexit would demonstrate to a disenfranchised youth that their voices matteredby Shiv Malik / July 25, 2018 / Leave a comment
Millennials, born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s, have come to expect being shortchanged. While millions of their Baby Boomer parents can sit back in the homes they long ago snapped up for a song, and retire for decades on incomes greater than many now earn in work, those in their 20s and 30s are today overwhelmingly priced out of the property market. Instead of free university they enter adulthood weighed down by student debt, and subject to extortion by private landlords. All this is snuffing out the old hope that tomorrow will be better than today.
For a decade, the depth of this social schism has been sinking in, but open generational combat on the political front is newer, only starting in earnest with the Brexit vote, a nostalgic plea to restore a lost but (for the old) fondly remembered yesterday. The young split roughly two to one for “Remain,” while the old, were 60+ per cent in favour. Young people are far more likely to use EU rights to travel and work abroad, heightening their sense of grievance.
So what, now, if Brexit stopped? Young adults would gain more than the old from the banishment of the vicissitudes haunting a labour market in which they are very often exposed. Just as important would be the freeing up of the political agenda; instead of working ourselves into a frenzy over the minutiae of trade rules, we could again grapple with housing, capital investment and education, and turn our minds to a future in which even professional jobs may be reshaped by AI, robotics and blockchain. Even more fundamentally, stopping Brexit would demonstrate to a disenfranchised youth that their voices (and votes) mattered—and that they lived in a country with its eyes on the future, not a greying society that only wanted to look back.