Politicians and Youth: The Brexit Disconnect

GDB599 Young person in crowd at anti Brexit march with a political voting sign Too Young to Vote and Not Consulted London UK June 2016 KATHY DEWITT

‘Building Bridges: A Youth Vision for a Common Future after Brexit’, is a report led by the Generation Brexit research team at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE), European Institute. The report, which was commissioned by All Party Parliamentary Group on a Better Brexit for Young People (APPG-BBYP), intends to ensure greater youth consultation and participation in political life post Brexit. It is widely known that Brexit attitudes are divided along generational lines. Young people were a key element missing from the debates leading up to the Brexit vote. As a result, many youth have argued that they feel cheated out of their future, and alienated from the political process.

The report explores recommendations for how European and British youth envision the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Over 1,000 participants across the UK and EU were consulted on their views on more than 400 ideas on the portal. The report finds that young people fear that the divisiveness of Brexit is a sign of growing intolerance and xenophobia. Many young people desire a more inclusive future, promoting values such as diversity and equality of opportunity. Young people also feel that Brexit will result in damaging economic developments for youth specifically, including higher tuition fees, more job insecurity, and unreasonably priced housing market.
The report reminds us of the importance of uplifting and respecting all voices in the political process. The future of the UK looks very precarious. One wonders whether there is time for British politicians and society – especially the younger generation – to come together, start an open conversation and bridge the divides.

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