I Don’t Want to Go

Well the UK hasn’t sunk into the sea, so I guess that’s a start.

So, I stayed up all night on Thursday to watch as the results for my country’s referendum on the EU and with every hour my heart sank a little more.

Speaking as someone who is 20 years old this feels like my future and the futures of thousands of other young adults like me, has been pulled out from under our feet.

This is not a decision like one made at a general election, I can not look at the results at say, well maybe it’ll be different in 5 years, this decision is final, there is no turning back now and sadly my age demographic, who voted some 75% to remain, must live with this decision the longest, an estimated 68 years.

Why all this doom and gloom, well prehaps its because of what the EU represents to me. I was born in 1995, I have known no life except one inside the EU, as opposed to millions of other British people. The EU and the ECC before it represented a unified Europe, nations that had been traditionally enemies came together to secure peace and prosperity. Every year holidaying in Cornwall, I would see the EU’s funding at work. My Dad often traveled across the EU, working and bringing money home for us. Everything in my life pointed to a continued future in the EU and I often envisioned myself working out there myself, learning languages and forging connections. I never expected that the UK would leave and waking up today it feels like part of my heritage has been ripped from me.

Unlike some of my compatriots I don’t see the need of getting angry at those who wanted to leave, many had legitimate concerns over issues such as immigration and the role of the EU, however I am annoyed at how both campaigns were run. Leave based their arguments on half truths and silly soundbites like ‘take back control’ and ‘this is our independence day’. Whilst on the other hand the In campaign only spewed negativity, timidly promising that the EU could change and mindlessly quoting dire statics and estimations, while never actually pointing out any of the good that the EU does.

However this vote also represents the continued growth of disunity between people, over countless years we had been fed stories and headlines that have heightened our suspicions and paranoia towards different people, all of which came to height when the politician Jo Cox was assassinated on the streets of Birstall. The way the vote went, it could mean that there is not a United Kingdom for much longer, or even an EU for that matter. It pains me to see countries, once so close and alike, turning their backs on each other.

But most importantly, I feel that as young person in Britain, my views are becoming out of step with majority older population and that we have been increasingly targeted. First there was the rise in tuition fees, then there was reelection of a Tory government which promised further cut backs, and now we have this. For a world where the children are supposedly the future I certainly don’t feel like anyone really cares about my future.

I don’t think Britain is entering the Utopia that Brexiters seemed to suggest it is, however I also don’t think things will be as bad as the In campaign predicted, at least not for those over 50’s and people already sitting on a nice retirement fund with no prospects of working again. As for me, if I am living in country where I feel my views are repeatedly ignored I see no reason in continuing to live here, but we shall wait and see.

I think the important thing  now is remember that, no matter what way we voted, we are still human beings and society does not need any further divisions, instead we must take this time to heal and reflect.

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28 Comments

  1. Well said. I hope your measured positive outlook doesn’t come to be tested too much but I am not feeling very positive about that myself at the moment. It s a sad time not just for the UK but for humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is like a step back in time to a more primitive society. One that is insular and full of suspicion and bigotry. I fear the same for us in the US if Trump wins. A history series on the Greeks just aired how the Minoan civilization fell as a result of too large a gap between rich and poor. Look at what is happening in all the big cities. There is no housing for the middle class or poor. No way to earn a living for the old or less privileged. Here we have no health care and no way for most of the baby boomers to survive. It sure does get depressing. GB leaving the EU is just one of many symptoms of failing systems.

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    1. A writer brought up a terrifically good poem written almost 100 years ago by Rudyard Kippling entitled A Dead Statesman to describe the situation.
      I could not dig: I dared not rob:
      Therefore I lied to please the mob.
      Now all my lies are proved untrue
      And I must face the men I slew.
      What tale shall serve me here among
      Mine angry and defrauded young?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As a Remain voter towards the higher end of the age spectrum (60 next birthday) and a (very) mature student just down the road from you (Wrexham Glyndwr University), I understand and share your concerns.
    Yes, I did put money away into a pension scheme while I was working, but it is only enough to cover the basic needs of living – or so I’d hoped. Now that fund may be reduced or even wiped out depending on how volatile the financial markets are from now on.
    As you say, many people in receipt of pensions won’t work again (and why should they? – that’s the way it should be, why it’s called retirement and is supposed to make room for younger people to get such jobs as are available), but then again it is more likely that employers won’t take older people on.
    It is not only the young who feel let down. We have all seen the benefits that closer links with Europe gave us – although it wasn’t all good by any means – and younger people who have known nothing else are quite right to feel let down.
    But we can either sit back and grumble about it (and I did my fair share of that yesterday) and leave the politicians to it, or each one of us can make an effort to do something (anything) that will enable our voices not only to be heard but to be acted upon.
    Many people, of all ages, say that everyday life is nothing to do with politics or politicians, but as students we have both been directly affected by the decisions made in Westminster (bad) and the Welsh Assembly (good) in relation to our tuition fees and student loans.
    This is the time we each need to stand up and do something to make sure everyone has the opportunity of a decent future – whatever their age. We can only do that by getting involved with campaigns at local and national level which will bring about those changes. That means persuading people to actually vote in elections, from local councils all the way up to choosing our MPs.
    It means keeping ourselves informed and not just believing media spin; it means considering what the individual candidates stand for and not voting for a particular party because it’s the one we’ve always voted for or our because our parents vote for them. It means contacting your MP directly if proposed changes to legislation or more public sector cuts affect us instead of posting about it on social media. MPs work for us; they are paid by money raised from the taxpayers of this country and are elected to represent us, not to serve their own interests or that of multi-national corporations who squirrel away profits in tax havens. Make them work for their pay.
    If we do nothing then we can expect nothing. And that’s what we’ll get.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eileen your words are the truth, this events effects us all, I don’t really think it effects anyone in a positive way, at least not economically, I hope in a few years other people will see sense, but I think by then it will be too late. We will all continue to fight for our causes but I fear people in this country are increasingly becoming divided along political lines and that divide is only widening with every headline, article and Facebook comment. This current government does not represent me, nor does it represent thousands of other people, young and old, but I when we starting killing each other over these things, then we are truly lost

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I suspect this government may not go to full term. We have to be ready for that. Work starts now. Do you mind if I share this post on the North Wales Against Cuts facebook group

        Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a setback but I’m sure we will keep pressing onwards, what does make me happy is seeing so many young people, including 16-17 year olds becoming increasingly aware of politics, which I believe is essential in this modern world.

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      1. Agreed, and in the Scottish referendum they were allowed to vote which was entirely right. One of the debates had an audience of school students and I was so impressed with the thoughtful questions they asked.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Well expressed and I am happy to share among my small FB following. I was amused at the colours blue and yellow on your map. Our newspapers showed “Stay” in Blue, and “Leave” in Red!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well said. I’ve seen some very positive and eloquent words from Gen Y on social media in the past couple of days so I hope common sense prevails to bring a calm and sensible outcome. It is an interesting time in history. I wonder how future generations will look back on these early decades of the 21st century.

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  6. This was an excellent post and sensibly optimistic. I am horrified by the vote, the reasons behind and the future implications but I guess time will tell. I was around when we became part of Europe and I thought we shouldn’t but it was different reasons. Hey ho – the world keeps spinning!

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  7. Such a well-written post. Thanks.

    In my opinion the entire referendum campaign was just depressing. As you said the Remain campaign never mentioned any of those things that EU membership has made Britain into a better place – like clean beaches, protected wildlife, and worker rights.

    Both sides concentrated on immigration and economics. And the media let them get away with it! Why did the journalists not force the politicians to talk about some of the positive benefits of EU membership? As if these things are not important to the British population? We ALL benefit from these things whether we realise it or not. But it seems to me that the politicians and journalists feed off each other so closely that all those things were sidelined.

    This is not to deny that membership of the EU has also led to increased immigration and that this is leading to problems. But will leaving the EU actually lead to a fall in immigration? There’s a very powerful suspicion that actually, it won’t.

    Out of all the politicians that I heard speaking about the EU issue the only one that came out of it with any credit, in my opinion, was Caroline Lucas, the Green MP. She mentioned these apparently peripheral, but actually critical results of EU membership every time I heard her speak.

    Anyway, enough of my incoherent rambling…….

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    1. Its a shame, I really don’t think people in the UK have ever paid enough attention to the EU and its importance, especially when compared to people in other countries such as Germany. I mean UKIP has our largest number of MEPs, what does that tell you about people’s attitude in this country towards the Europe. However I do think that was slowly changing and people were becoming more aware of the EU, but now that has been snatched away

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  8. I cannot even find the words for how upset I was about the result. My first thoughts were of Northern Ireland, and the fragility that could easily turn to disaster. After my semester there Northern Ireland will always have a special place in my heart.

    Then I remembered how many international students who were there because of the Erasmus programme and how many local students who had already taken a semester or year with Erasmus. The fact that this wonderful exchange will now end is saddening.

    And these are only the beginnings of all the sad things I thought about. I had considered living in Scotland or Northern Ireland after finishing my studies, but I think those options are off the table for the time being until stability returns.

    I am so sorry, but don’t give up on going abroad! Whether you study, work, or intern abroad, make sure you go! You already know I’m a fan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry about the latness of this reply Lynnae as I wanted to wait until I put out my latest post as you no idea how appropriate this is for me as I will now be moving aboard this Septemeber. Fortunately my erasmus grant has not been effected by this turn of events but its a sad thought that I may be the last generation of UK students who are offered it. Its horrible to think that so many students who dreamed of studying and working in Europe could soon be unable to do so because they no longer have access to erasmus. I’m glad I took the opportunity when I could to study aboard, and that was in part because I read about your own experiences studying abroad, so thank you.

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  9. As an outsider, not too distant… I believe there is much to be said for being out. The UK will determine it’s own future, always keeping in mind that the EU cannot go away. I think this will eventually turn out to be something similar to Y2K… remember Y2K?? Non event of the highest magnitude!
    Opportunity knocks! I for one am now actively seeking a role in the UK! See you soon! 😉 🙂 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well its already had more of an effect than Y2K, especially on our political system. Perhaps you are right though and it’ll turn out that leaving the EU will be of great benefit. But if that is ever the case I don’t think we are going to see many advantages for a long period of time

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      1. Have faith! In 1945 very few saw any future in anything but this time choices could be made without too much disruption… OK, I’m just trying to put a positive spin on it all! The world as we know it hasn’t changed that drastically! Have faith… the future has a way of sorting itself out! 😉 (By the way… Y2K had a massive effect (on the tech markets) yet the world didn’t end! 😀

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  10. You are wise beyond your years Callum. I’ve read a great many articles both before and after the vote and I have to say this post is the most considered, well written and thought provoking piece. I share your sadness but while our young people are so engaged and intelligent in their views I feel there is some hope. That feeling of lost hope has downed my spirits over the past couple of weeks but reading this has restored some of that hope and for that I thank you.

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