On 23rd June 2016 a referendum will be held in the UK to decide whether we will leave the European Union or remain as a member state.
Now I won’t profess to being an expert in politics or even try to convince you that I know a great deal when it comes to the EU, because truth be told my knowledge is fairly limited in those areas. But I stumbled upon an article today that caught my attention and spurred me to write this post. It stated that around 50% of people in the 18-34 age group are likely to abstain from voting in the Brexit referendum. And while that’s quite hard-hitting to read, it’s not all-together surprising.
The majority of us are essentially clueless when it comes to the Brexit debate. We’re bombarded with political propaganda in the form of leaflets through our front doors, YouTube adverts, and televised announcements from the likes of Cameron, Johnson and Farage, not knowing who we can actually trust to give us an objective and honest account of the whole debacle. And so of course the easiest option seems to be to turn a blind eye and do nothing at all. But that would be a big mistake.
The fact of the matter remains, we’re the ones who will have to deal with the outcome of this vote, whether or not we can see that now; it’ll definitely impact on our futures. And so I thought that I’d do a bit of research on the subject in order to educate myself and come to a decision of my own accord.
After trawling the internet for a while it became clear that it’s almost impossible to find a comprehensive list of pros and cons to our membership in the EU from just one source.
And so this is what I’ve gathered from visiting various websites and watching numerous debates: supporters of the Brexit are all about retaining sovereignty and controlling our borders/cutting down on immigration. And those keen to stay in the EU are focusing more on the global trading benefits and easy mobility for Britons around Europe.
At the end of the day I’m not an economist or a business owner and so a lot of the financial-related aspects (including GDP etc) go right over my head. I’m just your average millennial and this is my individual take on the situation: I’ll be voting to stay in the EU and for Cameron to renegotiate a better package for our nation.
I know a number of EU migrants living and working in the UK and if we opt to leave the EU their residential status will become uncertain, as will that of British expats currently residing in EU countries. Furthermore, opportunity for British citizens to work in EU countries will also be impacted. And of course I have more selfish reasons for wanting to remain an EU member state. I don’t want to have to apply for a visa every time I want to visit an EU state, or to have to queue for an extra hour and a half for passport control checks at the airport, or to have to pay more to fly to Italy/Spain/Greece for a long weekend, or to have to pay more to use my mobile phone while I’m out there! Furthermore, at the moment UK driving licenses are recognised and valid in all EU member states, but there’s no guarantee that this will still be the case if we opt to Brexit, plus access to free emergency healthcare while we’re abroad will similarly be put to an end.
But ultimately that’s just my interpretation of the Brexit debate. We’re all entitled to our own opinion (that’s the beauty of freedom of speech!) and I didn’t write this post to force my way of thinking upon anybody, I wrote it to draw attention to the subject at hand. Like I said, numerous polls have shown that people my age are disinterested as to whether we should stay or leave (which I know for a fact is true because most of my friends couldn’t care less about this topic!) and so if this post manages to encourage even just one young person out there to do their research and take an interest, I’ll be over the moon! Forget about all of the propaganda, vote in the way that you think will benefit you as an individual. And remember, regardless of the result two things are crystal clear: not everyone will be happy with the outcome and our relationship with the EU will never be perfect.