Thanks a bunch, baby-boomers.
Overnight, I lost my country. My country did not take back control, it split in half. Scotland is now poised to leave, and I do not blame them. They were sold a lie in their independence referendum, and have now had their democratic will trampled in this referendum. I bid good luck to Scotland, and good bye to the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
What we have just witnessed is not just the end of the UK, but also economic Armageddon. The pound has fallen to its lowest point since 1985, the FTSE is crashing harder than it did in the 2008 crisis, Scotland is set to leave, and we are about to lose our Triple A rating. Make no mistake, people will lose their jobs over this. The Bank of England is also going to raise interest rates (so have fun if you’re about to take out a mortgage).
Welcome to the world of Nigel Farage’s Britain.
If you hoped to leave university with the best prospects you could, then today has crushed that for you.
The immediate impact for so many families will be devastating. In my own family, my Mum works for a research organisation that is funded by the EU. The money our country used to send to the EU will not be redirected into this organisation because all governments funds will now be needed to fire-fight this mess, as the economy fails. The Bank of England has warned that interest rates will rise, so in one vote my family is going to have its income halved, and its mortgage costs rise.
Anyone who dismissed experts as ‘Project Fear’ can now see that the experts were right. It is not scaremongering when the danger is real, and now the catastrophe is here.
I have spent six years studying politics. From sixth form to my postgraduate degree, I have had people ask me about politics, and what I thought on events of the day. Up until now, I have never really been angry about anything.
When tuition fees tripled, I wasn’t that upset because the way we repay them is reasonable. I even wrote a piece for The Saint defending them. I understood that we needed to reduce our debt, and it was just a sad fact that the Conservatives did not want to cut pensions or raise taxes, as they would lose votes from their base. The baby boomer generation was prioritised over ours, and that wasn’t a big deal for me, even as I heaped on tens of thousands of pounds in debt.
When austerity cut funds to many departments, I wasn’t angry. It was necessary to reduce our debt, and if we weren’t going to raise taxes, then it needed to happen.
When the junior doctors went on strike, I didn’t really care. I didn’t fully understand the proposals, and wasn’t really interested.
Today, however, I am angry.
I am furious. The baby boomers have not just wrecked our economy. The European Union was more than a free-trade bloc, it was a peace project.
In my postgraduate degree, I have chosen to focus upon peace projects. You in politics all know the story; after every major European war, there is an attempt to set up an international organisation to ensure the peace. The Great Design of Henry IV, the Perpetual Peace Project of the Abbé de Saint-Pierré, the Concert of Europe, the League of Nations, the United Nations and the European Union are all examples.
The problem with peace projects is that generations forget. Some projects never got off the ground because key members weren’t involved, but the EU did work. As with all peace projects however, time drags on, rumblings stir, and soon people clamour for sovereignty over peace and prosperity.
Now that we have total sovereignty, what good is it? We have less chance of peace, because it has reopened the old world of European power politics; Germany and the EU cannot afford to let a country that leaves the EU be seen to prosper, or others may follow. Therefore it will make an example of Britain, by playing hardball. We only cared about ourselves, and now the Eurozone countries will quite rightly only care about themselves.
I am not saying Brexit will cause a war; I am saying this it is the first step away from a Europe where war was unthinkable. We are now on a path to a Europe where countries only care about themselves, and competition and conflict becomes more likely in that environment. If the EU does eventually break up, and a few fringe parties that are against NATO membership get into power in any European state, then the last bulwarks of peace will be gone.
Yet our generation did not forget the benefits of the EU, or want to walk away from cooperation. Neither did the majority of our parents. The people who forgot, were the children of the soldiers who died fighting nationalism. The baby boomer generation has taken us out of the EU against our will, as much as England has taken Scotland out of it against its will.
Their generation clamoured for us to take back control for our country, but they broke our country in doing so.
Over the coming months, and years, I want you all to remember that. When the economic recession comes, remember its cause. When the Conservatives are hijacked by the extreme right, remember the event which gave them the momentum. When Scotland breaks away, and Labour therefore loses any chance of getting into power unless it shifts to the right, remember what caused that.
When mortgages rise, when prices rise, when you struggle to find a job, remember the cause. It was not an immigrant stealing your job. It has never been an immigrant stealing your job. It was a reckless, selfish, disgusting mentality that fetishized sovereignty above the good of the people.
This is not our independence day, because ‘we the people’ did not want it. One specific age band wanted it, and they have shattered the United Kingdom with their decision.
I personally tried to stop this, as many in my generation did. I have written articles, been that annoying guy sharing as much as he can on Facebook, or discussing the EU in the pub. I hosted The Saint’s EU referendum debate, and at the end of the debate, 80 per cent of the audience were in favour of remaining. I will always remember that, because it shows that there must have been an even stronger mindset amongst the baby boomers to counter our generation’s desire for cooperation.
This was democracy today, and it has broken up one of the most famous democracies in the world.
This was democracy today, and we have to accept the decision; but it was a decision based upon ignorance, lying, and hate. All of the Brexit myths about an EU army or Turkey joining were untrue; we could have vetoed it all.
Now, finally, we are out of excuses; we cannot blame the EU for our problems anymore, we cannot blame immigrants. We cannot even blame ourselves, because our generation had no hand in supporting Brexit.
Today was the fault of a reckless generation, the majority of which cared more about scapegoating immigrants then it did about its own grandchildren.
Today was the result of a culture that openly supported an ‘I hate bloody politicians’ mentality. The leaders of every major party tried to stop this. Everyone warned against it. Our generation did not want it, and neither did Scotland.
We are all going to have to live with this for the rest of our lives, and I am angry and you should be too. The only hope we have now is that our generation will always remember that when you scapegoat immigrants, you create a toxic political environment which will turn on you. This is what happens when ignorance, hate, and nationalism take over, and I hope you all take an interest in politics from now on to stop it ever happening again.