EU Referendum Shows Tories Don’t Care About Young People

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There has been a lot of anger from young people over the past few days with regards to the EU referendum.

The politically aware that are still in school feel abandoned by the elderly and other groups who have made the decision to leave the EU, when the effects of this will be felt long after they are dead.

On top of this, current 16 and 17 year-olds feel even more frustration – as many feel they fully understand the situation more than others above the voting age, and would have voted for either option.

I registered to vote as soon as I found out 16 year-olds could, even though they can’t vote until they are 18 and I still won’t be allowed to, until the end of this year. I recognise the fact that people my age who are as engaged with politics as I am, are rare. Many of my friends who, before now, were irritated any time I mentioned anything about the government or the opposition, now speak about how stressed they were at the prospect of leaving the EU.

Out of all of the current sixth formers I know, only one of them was for leaving the EU and that person, in my experience, had not really shown much interest or awareness of politics until the last few days.

From my point of view, it seems that the Tories do not want to allow 16 year-olds to vote because they are far more liberal and less likely to vote for them.

This is another reason why the elderly did very well out of the last general election (including a triple lock on their pensions) due to being the most likely to vote. Young people on the other hand have merely been cast aside with tuition fees hiked to £9000, and a further increase in the next few years looking feasible.

There are 1.5 million 16 and 17 year-olds in Britain, which means about 75% of those could have turned out to vote as they did in Scotland for the independence referendum.

More 18 to 24 year-olds voted in the EU referendum than in the general election, therefore the same effect on 16 and 17 year-olds may well have occurred.

Of those that voted in the Scottish referendum, 71% voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. From this information it could be predicted that 16 and 17 year-olds could have swung the vote towards remaining inside the EU.

I feel that we have shunned the idea of cooperation and progress, for isolationism and the desire to prove to ourselves and others that we can be self-sufficient.

If, as Nicola Sturgeon is saying, another referendum for Scottish independence does take place and succeeds, as well as them remaining in the EU, I will be moving to Scotland at the earliest possible opportunity after leaving home if I have not already done so with my family.

When current teenagers denied a vote in this referendum do have a say in future elections, the damage will have been done – which will leave a bitter taste in the mouth for the rest of our lives.


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