25 June 2016

I Voted Leave But I Don’t Feel Victorious


Never in a million years did I think that we’d leave the European Union. I genuinely believed that I’d watch the results come in and see remain take every council. I was ecstatic but then I went to bed… When I awoke and checked my socials, my sense of ecstasy was no more. Not because the pound had dropped (as expected) and the markets lost value, but because even though I backed the winning horse I was being made to feel like I’d shot the winning horse. I’m fully aware that ‘remain’ voters are disappointed with the result. I’m also fully aware that most under the age of 45 voted to remain. Therefore, the majority of my socials were made up of ‘remain’ voters.

Though ‘remain’ voters and young ‘remain’ voters are especially upset, that does not give them the right to make ‘leave’ voters feel like bastards. There’s a very heavy strain of neoliberalism and political correctness within my generation. It’s very, very ugly. (I’m perfectly aware that ‘Vote Leave’ used immigration as a tool and this is just as sickening) However, stating that every ‘leave’ voter is racist and uneducated is as revolting. Especially for me as someone who voted leave on the basis of democracy and human rights. In fact, I encouraged people not to vote on the grounds of immigration. However, as I’m part of the ‘leave’ side, I’m now feeling alienated as I abject profoundly to being labelled as racist. (I don’t really mind being labelled as uneducated as I technically am) Moreover, what’s more neoliberal about this is calling people racist and xenophobic in the first place for even mentioning immigration! Apparently anyone who suggests border controls must be a bigot. Well then, Australia and Canada with their open yet controlled borders must be extremely xenophobic places to live. Though I am pro-immigration and dislike any such border controls, I understand that there are people who want them and we shouldn't label them as racists because of it.

May I also add that people are getting very confused about the idea of European immigration. Stopping the open-door with Europe stops WHITE EUROPEANS from freely moving to the U.K… It’s not just ‘leave’ voters that have made this confusion either. ‘Remain’ voters too have confused the freedom of movement within Europe and migration of outside of Europe.

Other than the neoliberal discourse, the other thing that really made me feel like I shot the winning horse was the blaming of the over 45s. Apparently, because under 45s have more time left on earth than the over 45s, their vote should be valued more… That’s essentially what I’ve been reading. There was a clear divide between the old and young. However, this was one person one vote. This was a democratic exercise where everyone’s vote held the same weight. Simply because the under 45s have “more time left on earth” that does not give them more of a say. Under 25s especially, seem to have a deep sense of entitlement that comes across as very ugly. What do these people want? An age cut off? Over 50s aren't allowed to vote? It’s ridiculous and extremely arrogant. Democracy does not mean you always win.

If young people want to live in a country that has lax border controls, they need to elect a party that best represents this. The referendum only happened because of the rise of UKIP. UKIP only happened because of Tory austerity. When the poorest people are crippled by cuts and stagnant wages, they will blame their ‘neighbour'. The rightwing rhetoric of ‘Vote Leave’ was fuelled by Tory austerity and the vast income inequality within Britain. If young people cared enough to be upset about leaving the European Union, they would vote for a party that does not help fuel anti-immigration discourse. The best thing ‘remain’ voters can do is to pick themselves up, help build a socially and economically equal society, and look towards the future. 

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