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Youth… May 11, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Interesting stats here quoted by Martin Kettle in the Guardian recently about the attitude of people in Britain to Brexit

Leaving the EU is “this generation’s chance to shape a brighter future for our country”, said May. It offers “a chance to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be”.
That sounds very benign and consensual, as it is supposed to, until you realise that “this generation” is in fact not a fixed thing. Britain is divided not united across its generations, including Europe. In the YouGov poll this week, 65% of young people aged 18-24 say it was wrong to vote leave, against just 12% who think it was right. At the other end of the age spectrum, the over-65s say the opposite, with 62% saying it was right to leave and 31% saying it was wrong.


So this isn’t really “this generation’s chance”. In fact it’s the older generation’s chance to break a relationship with Europe that the younger generation wants to keep. Looking backwards has defeated looking forwards – or has until the leave voters die out and, perhaps, leave the new majority more pro-European. At the end of her speech May invoked a misty-eyed vision of “a stronger, fairer, better Britain – a Britain our children and grandchildren are proud to call home”. The problem, though, is that leaving the EU isn’t going to produce that kind of Britain. As the historian Anthony Barnett put it: “Brexit is government of the old, by the old, for the old.”

Depressing. Because that younger generation – having such clear views, and look at the undecideds, that could be mined too – could potentially be moved not by futile euro-phobia or indeed unthinking and credulous euro-philia but instead by an effort to reshape the EU towards more democratic and left ends – or if that doesn’t work towards parallel structures in advance of the day that the EU might be superseded by a network of like-minded left-led states across its length and breadth. Imagine had that sentiment been harnessed towards that? And now?

Well, I think the UK ultimately will probably wind up in EEA/EFTA, though not for a period of time to come. I can’t see the UK back in the EU for a generation, perhaps much longer, possibly never. And perhaps for England that’s no bad thing. But for Scotland, Northern Ireland and indeed Wales… not so great.

By the way this reminds me of one of the most truly reactionary books I’ve had the displeasure to read – a ‘thriller’ by arch-Tory historian Andrew Roberts entitled The Aachen Memorandum.

The wiki description gives you a taste of it:

The novel presupposes a referendum to have taken place in the United Kingdom in 2015, on whether the country should join a United States of Europe (a development of the European Union) as part of a Treaty of Aachen. The referendum gives a narrow majority to supporters of the Treaty (51.86% to 48.14%).[2] Thirty years later the book’s anti-hero, the historian Horatio Lestocq, a member of All Souls College at Oxford University, researching the referendum for a series of articles in The Times, comes across evidence revealing that the referendum was rigged by a pro-European elite. After a series of violent events, including murder and an attempt on the life of the emigré William Mountbatten-Windsor (son of “the late ex-King Charles III”, and now King of New Zealand),[3] Lestocq’s eventual exposure of the referendum fraud results in the restoration of an independent United Kingdom, and he is rewarded, after the repeal of the European Union’s ‘Classlessness Directive’, with a baronetcy and the editorship of The Times.[4]
The book makes satirical predictions (from its 1995 perspective) of the future of a number of real-life people. These include a group arrested in 2016 as being members of the underground Anti-Federalist Movement, among whom are mentioned “Matthew d’Ancona, the former editor of The Times, two former cabinet ministers, Hywel Williams and Iain Duncan-Smith, the […] broadcaster Dr. Niall Ferguson [and] Michael Gove of the European Broadcasting Corporation.”[2] John Redwood, having escaped from Pentonville Prison, is in 2045 the head of the ‘Free British Office’ in Oslo.[5]

At the end not only does Britain leave the USE – cue celebration, but there’s also an upwelling of Unionist feeling in the North of Ireland etc where voters vote to leave the USE and reinstate the ‘union’.


1. Occasional lurker - May 11, 2017

I never got the youth trope to be honest. Just because someone is young doesn’t mean they are right just as someone old is not wrong.

And vice versa. In France le Pen had more young supporters (44%) than her final tally of about 33% and only 20% amongst over 65s.

The youth trope tends to get dropped in that instance doesn’t it. Just a rhetorical device at the end of the day.

Same as the argument for not voting again which in itself is probably a tactic to ensure the very live question of not voting again gets blocked.

I would be surprised if the Bremain (ugh, what an expression) side wouldn’t have called the question parked if the tables were turned.


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