73 per cent of under-25s voted for Remain in the referendum. If you’re in first and second year, you probably didn’t get a vote and are having to observe an inept government pull us out of Europe, despite the fact that you had no say. That’s why you should support a People’s Vote on the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
We have grown up with all the benefits of European Union membership. If you have worked during your summer holidays, you will have had the choice to opt out of the European Working Time Directive in order to work more than a 48-hour week. If you have travelled to Europe, you will have taken advantage of freedom of movement, not needing a visa to cross the border.
Indirectly, we have also benefited from European research funding for universities, from European lecturers, and from our fellow European students, who have certainty that they will be allowed to remain in the UK if they graduate after 29 March next year.
Many of you were told that you have to accept the outcome of the 2016 referendum. You may not have had the opportunity to vote in the 2015 general election, but since then you have had the chance to vote for or against the government. You have had the choice to change your mind. Changing your mind is a crucial part of what it means to be a citizen in a democracy.
I have started a society, OFOC St Andrews, to campaign for a People’s Vote on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. We respect the result of the referendum. The nation voted to advise the government to pursue our exit from the European Union. We did not vote to leave the Customs Union; we did not vote for stockpiling of medicines and food; we did not vote for queues at Dover in the event of a no deal Brexit.
This is NOT “project fear.” It is the reality if we leave Europe without a deal.
Theresa May does not currently have a viable deal. Chequers is dead. We leave the European Union in less than six months. The government’s attempts to divide European leaders has failed. The belief that car manufacturers in Germany would lobby for special concessions on our behalf has proved, unsurprisingly, to be false. Instead, we have BMW planning to relocate car manufacturing to Europe, Toyota planning to stall production in the event of no deal, and Jaguar Land Rover planning to move to a three-day week.
A People’s Vote offers an elegant solution. It allows Mrs May to put whatever deal she comes up with to the people and allows us a final say over whether or not that’s what we want. A bad deal isn’t acceptable, nor is no deal. There is no majority for either in the House of Commons.
Time would not be a problem — EU leaders have said on multiple occasions that they will happily extend the Article 50 deadline in the case of a People’s Vote. Article 50 can also be reversed. Whether you support remaining in, or leaving, the European Union, you should want the best deal possible. Not the mess of whatever Theresa May negotiates in the next six months, which will most likely fail to live up to the sunlit uplands we were promised.
What you need to do is get involved in the campaign in St Andrews for a People’s Vote. Follow the OFOC St Andrews Facebook page and share our posts, get involved with petitioning the Union for a People’s Vote, write to our local MP Stephen Gethins and tell him what you think about the Government’s plan. Even if all you do is come along to the pub and have a chat, even if you completely disagree with me, it’s always good to talk.
Max Waller is the President of Our Future Our Choice St Andrews and interned with Infacts, a news organisation making the fact-based case against Brexit, over the summer.