Or: Was Brexit a fault of the younger generation?
Ever since the Brexit referendum, there have been accusations from the Millennials that the older generations voted Brexit and therefore have ruined their future. As I explained in my last post on the matter, nostalgia was one of the main reasons why so many voted in favour of Leave, but is the outcome really down to them?
In February this year, the BBC has published a statistical analysis of the Brexit referendum demographics and one of their key findings is that older people were more likely to vote Leave. However, the findings clearly indicate that education was a much bigger influence on people’s voting decision than any other demographic aspect. Of course, it’s easy and comfortable to blame the older generations for voting the way they did when they don’t have to live with the consequences for as long as their children and grandchildren.
However, Sky News published their analysis too and it reveals something many might have already suspected: There was a rather poor polling when it comes to younger voters. Only 36% of young adults between 18 and 24 years went to the polls – the lowest turnout out of all age groups. In comparison, 58% of all 25 to 34 year olds voted and 72% of the 35 to 44 made their cross. In short: only every third adolescent used their voice to express their political opinion.
So, is their anger over the outcome of the referendum justified?
Yes. Well, at least those who went to the polls and tried to shape the future of their country according to their own world view have every right to be angry. But it’s not the older generations they should blame, it’s their fellow peers who decided to remain silent that are responsible for Brexit. The date of the referendum, June 23, was in the middle of the semester and many students complained that they weren’t able to vote because they didn’t register for the city where they go to university.
In Britain, you can’t just head to the polls and vote as you like – you have to register first for the town, village, or community you live in. The process of a registration takes approximately five minutes and occurs on the internet at the official website of the British government. All you need for the procedure is your British passport and your National Insurance number. The deadline for the registration for the EU referendum was early June. David Cameron, the former PM of the UK, announced in February when the referendum would be held – more than enough time to look up all the information one would need in order to go to the polls.
Whether you are busy with university work or not, whether you’re in town or at home with your parents – five minutes of online registration won’t do you any harm; quite the opposite, in fact. The question why young people still failed to vote remains unanswered even now. But of one fact we can be certain: Those who made use of their voices cannot be blamed by those who don’t like their opinion, however debatable it may be. Those who wanted to punish the government, failed to register, or were simply too lazy – those are the ones who are to blame.
In TV interviews, some tried to defend their inactivity with how they never would have suspected such an outcome. Well, that’s the funny thing about elections – you suddenly realise how many people out there are actually thinking differently from yourself. Being presumptuous when it comes to your own future is a luxury that nobody should have the right to claim for themselves.
However, what’s past is past and there’s a new general election coming up on June 8. The deadline for your online registration is May 22 and if you’re unhappy with the Brexit referendum outcome, I suggest you use your voice as long as you still can.