‘Brexit? Not in my name’

Your correspondent Peter Webb was quite right when he speculated that I am a few years older than 22-year-old Joel Kemp who wrote passionately for his generation for the Europe vote to be positively in favour of staying.

With only 80 odd days to the referendum, and with a bit of canvassing under my personal belt now I can confirm that young people I have met are vastly in favour of staying in Europe.

Young people are no strangers to perceived inter-generational unfairness: for example they now take it for granted that they will never be able to afford the kind of houses their parents lived in, and not enjoy the same kind of pension benefits current pensioners such as I enjoy.

During the tuition fee protests of 2010, it was common to hear that older generations that had benefited from free higher education were denying young adults the same opportunity.

This week I heard a student comment about the Brexit campaign: “They enjoyed the benefits of the EU and now they want to pull up the ladder.”

The major attraction of the EU, as the young see it, is free movement.

The young have grown up able to look beyond these island shores.

They like being a part of something bigger. They have a wider vision.

They can link up with others in Europe to campaign to improve the environment and human rights.

There is a sense that, should things turn sour at home, the EU is there for them as a safety blanket.

Brexit would alienate so many young people that education secretary Nicky Morgan has warned of a ‘lost generation’.

When young Britons (and older ones such as me) marched in 2003 to protest against the Iraq war, we marched under the banner ‘Not In My Name’.

If their opposition to leaving the EU is similarly ignored in June, it will be time to update the rallying cry: “Brexit? Not in my name.”

Stephen Hardy MBE

George Close


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