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Youth Division over Brexit: is there a clear line between leave and remain voters?

By Anonymous

Brexit is an issue of contempt for all Britons, though it seems strangely magnanimous to concentrate on its impact amongst the most apathetic group of voters, the youth, that is 18-24y year olds. This is because of an entrenched philosophy, which extends to most young people themselves, that the youth, as general though the term may be, are unable to make cogent, informed and independent decisions, nicely encapsulated in the Daily Mail witch hunt over Brexit bias in Universities. A noticeable repercussion of this philosophy is that it confines the parameters of the debate, ensuring arguments, in order to win votes, are moulded around voting groups with typically higher turnouts, in turn spoiling arguments and undermining the result. This is what we saw with Brexit. The youth are often alienated, perpetuating the conjectural philosophy that led to Brexit – that it was an issue that ought to be decided not by the youth – in turn making it significantly harder to identify divisions amongst the youth over the issue.

Brexit, though, HAS become a divisive issue amongst the youth in Britain and this is most easily understood by considering the educational milieu of most young people. The educational sphere facilitates division amongst the youth because of the playground and academic behaviours it cultivates. The endemic of alienating views is prevalent in these facilities, explaining why the question need be asked in the first place, as less common, particularly anti-status-quo, views are seldom represented. The division can best be understood by looking at another form of fracture that separates young people: the divide amongst party lines, or even more broadly on left-right politics. The consensus is that most young people lean towards the left, yet the extent to which this is true cannot be fully evaluated for the absence of healthy and fair debate, and the abhorrent mud-slinging that comes with such debate. Teachers are categorically not responsible for cultivating political bias in institutions supposedly nonpartisan. Rather, as I have mentioned before, it is internalised, a natural phenomenon. Indeed, to the extent it has become common practice, that anti-status-quo issues are indiscriminately controverted. Brexit is just one of these issues.

From the perspective of an undergraduate ‘leaver’, in a confined, post-referendum understanding of the term, it is easy to see a divide amongst the youth over this issue. A testament to this is the anonymity I feel necessary for writing any political pieces. It is in this sense that being a ‘Brexiteer’ is akin to youth Conservative stigma – without a political correlation between the two. The necessity to protect one’s integrity, should they hold a mildly unpopular view, makes it especially difficult to gauge how divided Britain’s young people are, and indeed how to bridge it. However, this article testifies to the significance of the Youth & Brexit initiative, usurping power and focus onto the youth so new perspectives can be shed upon the impact of Brexit, or at least the referendum. This only begins to bridge the divisions of Britain’s young people over Brexit.

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