A Generation Divided
I write this on the evening of June 24th 2016 at around 21:00. I find myself with a cup of tea in hand, musing over the events of the day and the night before, as is the British way. Or maybe that should read “as was once the British way”, because in so short a time, so much has changed. We have a generation divided.
The EU referendum has shocked, scared and changed the future for our generation. David Cameron has resigned, Scotland looks set for independence, and Jeremy Corbyn will soon have to fight off a leadership contest in a broken and bitterly divided Labour Party. There are whispers – even if faint ones – of a united Ireland and, of course, the UK is set to leave the EU.
British Politics, the indescribable conundrum that rules our lives, will never be the same again.
As the sun begins to set, I find myself questioning everything I thought was certain about my life. Everything from the country I would live in to the career I want to take has been suddenly questioned. We live in a divided and angry kingdom and arguably rather than cause this, the Referendum has merely made it plain to see. The old certainties of, not just politics, but our lives themselves have been called into question. Regardless of whether you were remain, leave or completely undecided, we have a daunting and uphill struggle ahead of us if we want to see a progressive and optimistic Britain emerge from the downtrodden ‘kingdom’ in which now live.
Regardless of whether you were remain, leave or completely undecided, we have a daunting and uphill struggle ahead of us if we want to see a progressive and optimistic Britain emerge from the downtrodden ‘kingdom’ in which now live.
However let’s be real; that Britain is not coming anytime soon. Right now, politics in Britain is firmly seated in the hands of the Neo-Thatcherites and hard right. Any snap general election, with or without Corbyn, will lead to a Conservative government ten times worse than the one we have even now; if you think the Tories we have now are bad (and trust me, I do too) then a Conservative government under the dual monarchy of Gove and Boris will be a wakeup call from hell.
But hope will win. In ten to twenty years, when the disillusioned working classes, who voted in their hundreds of thousands for Brexit, realise that the Golden ticket they were sold was void…there will be a space in British politics for something truly radical. It is our job to ensure that when that time comes, that radical force is one of progressive, social democratic policies such as Universal Basic Income, not an even stronger modern Fascist movement- we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the century before us.
The anger that many of us feel now, the grief and disgust at the referendum result, can become a force for good. Look at Scotland, look at the huge shift to the SNP and the incredibly politically active youth that the independence referendum created north of the border. We can have this “Scotland effect” here. Let’s hone this anger and target it at Westminster, the Tories and other such causes of the injustices that we have today.
I truly believe that our generation will define what we know as modern civilisation, and it’s legacy. But what kind of legacy do we want to leave; the legacy that our parents generation have left by voting leave? Or do you want to tell our children that we did everything we could to save our planet, end injustices and create a fairer society?
If we are to have a government ten times worse, then let’s campaign for electoral reform, radical new policies and against discrimination ten times harder. Let’s lead the offensive on austerity, hate and the political norm.
In short, let’s not allow the political spark that the referendum has kindled blow out. Our generation should make politics, as it should always have been, about people and our love for one another as a society. Our generation can be truly revolutionary and change the way our world works, but it has to start now. Perhaps these timeless words of George Orwell on his death bed sums it up;
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever. The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one: don’t let it happen. It depends on you.”