Posted by: barbaraneill | June 23, 2016

UK EU Referendum and why I would give up my vote

As I write this, the citizens of the UK are going to the polls to decide whether or not the UK will remain in the European Union. I have voted, and I have voted to remain in, because that’s what I believe is the best option for our country. However, I would gladly have sacrificed my right to vote and I’m going to tell you why.

My youngest son is seventeen. He will be eighteen in just a few weeks’ time but, because he is not yet eighteen, he doesn’t have the option to vote in this referendum. In spite of that, he is very aware of current affairs and is a passionate campaigner to remain in the EU. As an active member of the Green Party, he has delivered hundreds of leaflets, produced by the Green Party, setting out the reasons for remaining in  the EU.He worked until he was exhausted, and covered a large area, in order to spread the message that he believes in so passionately.

In both my son’s experience and mine, it seems that the majority of young people around his age would like the UK to remain in the EU while those who are equally passionate about wanting to leave seem to be among the much older generation. This aside, repercussions of today’s referendum will be inflicted on young people of my son’s generation because they are the ones who are going to have to deal with the long-term effects of our decision. To put it bluntly, those of us who are much older will be dead while the younger generation will be picking up the pieces of what we have saddled them with, regardless of whether or not they would have chosen it for themselves.

So the reason I would gladly have sacrificed my right to vote? I believe that the sixteen and seventeen year olds, who will be most affected by the outcome of today’s vote, should have had a say in what the country decides. Those of us who are in the older generation and, therefore, only likely to be affected for a comparatively shorter time, arguably shouldn’t have the right to inflict our views on the younger generation. Wouldn’t it have been more fair to allow those sixteen and seventeen year olds the opportunity to vote on matters that will affect their future rather than leaving it to those who would rather hark back to rose-tinted memories of Great Britain’s ‘glorious’ past?


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