David Cameron Has Disrespected The Young

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David Cameron’s latest inept remarks about the seriousness of Brexit, remind me of a schoolboy’s minimization of the importance of the bad mark he just obtained in history, thinking that the subject is not important. A former UK prime minister, and founder of the “Brexit generation”, Cameron described the Brexit vote as, “a mistake”, and not, “a disaster.” Well, it takes one to know one, I suppose, and he could fit the first description of Brexit, and certainly fits the second.

In fact, both descriptions qualify the nature of the Brexit vote. The UK’s decision to leave the EU, is a mistake made by the present and older generations, and a potential disaster for future ones.

It’s turned out less badly than we all thought – David Cameron

I cannot really believe that Cameron thinks that all is going well. Does he not realise that Brexit hasn’t even happened yet, and citizens’ rights have been severely diminished? If I were to be sarcastic, I would say that Brexit is doing marvels, already. For starters, it has put a few British expats living on the continent firmly in their place – literally. All that’s left, now, is to close off the Channel Tunnel, sign a bumper trade deal with North Korea, and the UK’s flying again.

As expected, the Daily Mail rejoiced, on hearing these words, as only the Daily Mail can. “Congratulations, Dave. At last you’ve seen the light!”, was the beaming headline on the newspaper’s front page – a far cry from Cameron’s “project fear”. If the UK voters have seen the light, they have certainly been blinded by it.

Another “remoaner”, who seems to predict doom and gloom, but who, unlike David Cameron, doesn’t want to admit that he got it wrong, is Tony Blair. Ignoring all the economic indicators, he still doesn’t see much hope for the UK.

Deaf to the facts – jobs, manufacturing, export orders, business confidence and the public finances all looking up – he spent yesterday in Davos, Switzerland, belittling his country’s chances outside the EU. – Daily Mail

Both the Daily Mail, and David Cameron, seem to forget that the UK hasn’t actually left the EU, yet, and we just do not know what will happen, when it finally does. Furthermore, the gap between rich and poor is big, and seems to be widening. Inequality will continue to rise over the next 5 to 15 years, according to a report by the London School of Economics, and leaving the EU will do nothing to close the gap. Leaving the EU will also not cure the ailing health service, which needs more than the false promise of £350m a week, and donations from politicians attending a few dubious fund-raising parties.

For future generations, however, project fear does exist, and is a harsh reality. We may not be scared, but our children are. Young voters (under the age of 26) voted massively in favour of the UK remaining in the EU. This contrasts markedly with voters over 65, who not only voted overwhelmingly for Brexit, but also turned out in large numbers. This fact alone, has probably tought the younger voters, the hard truth about politics – if you don’t turn out to vote, you get what’s coming to you, and don’t complain afterwards. The fact that younger voters supported the Labour party, at last year’s general election, underscores the fact that a lot of young guy’s and girls thought that the UK remaining in the EU – an integral part of their existence – was part of the landscape that surrounds them. It was a cry for help, directed at a Labour party who chose not to listen.

The EU resembles my grandmother’s clock

One of the fundamental problems, facing all of those who are born with the EU, and those who unconditionally support it, is that we do not worry if the Union is still alive and well. The EU has become such a part and parcel of our daily lives, that I’m pretty sure that we will be lost without it. The mere fact that Theresa May is going to import EU laws, underscores the importance of the EU as a governing institution. The UK may want to free itself from the chains of the EU but, in the future, it is going to make a near perfect copy of the very institution that it’s leaving. 

The EU resembles an old clock that belonged to my grandmother. It was a small wooden clock that I hung by the stairs in my house, when I moved to the Netherlands. Like the EU, it didn’t properly do what it was designed for, and was colonised by woodworms. l still loved it to bits, having had it in France, and having always seen it, since my tender childhood. A few years ago, it fell off the wall, crashing down the stairs, and breaking into a thousand pieces. The house was filled with a cacophony of ringing bells, and laughing children, playing in an enchanted garden. The garden, that I thought was eternal, no longer exists, and I am no longer a child. Sometimes, we must treasure what we take for granted.

Freedom and unity

Brussels must realise that it holds something special, that needs taking care of and, like a plant, needs to be maintained and sometimes pruned. As for the UK, it is letting go of values that everyone should treasure – freedom and unity. A freedom to move from here to there, to taste other cultures, whilst enriching one’s own. A unity that has ensured peace in Europe, for over half a century.

David Cameron has shown disrespect and a lack of care for the future generations. In announcing the referendum, and not lowering the voting age, to encompass the young in the decision-making process, he disenfranchised those who were the most concerned by the vote, and who now risk to live a large part of their lives, outside the EU.

The young, who have grown up, participating in a European dream, will certainly feel that something is missing, after Brexit. Europe will remain accessible, but the spirit will have dampened, and the enthusiasm replaced by regrets. As for those who have not yet seen the light of day, they will inquire about a set of values they are unfortunate enough, not to have known. Having read the history books, at school, they will surely ask the reason why. History is an important subject, after all.