It’s good to pause at the end of the year and remind ourselves of some of the fractures the UK Referendum revealed, not least between young and old.
There was a clear divide between older (55+) and younger voters. Some of the youngsters seemed to think we oldies should have been disenfranchised, because:
“Once again the future of the youth is decided by the delusions and fears of an ageing population.”
Are we deluded and fearful because we’re old? Isn’t it a little odd that old people voted for change while young people voted for the status quo? Could there be something else going on? The task and disruption of leaving will come soon, and fall mostly on older people to manage. Why would we vote for that?
“You were selfish; it’s the young ones’ futures at stake, and at jeopardy.”
What are the benefits the EU gives the young but not the old? Young people in many EU countries are already suffering from the indifference and incompetence of EU leaders, who promise much and deliver little. What is there for young people to love or respect?
“You don’t care enough what happens to your children when you’re dead.”
We never wanted pesky kids in the first place, that’s why we invented “the pill”; however, that started the sexual revolution, but we were too high on drugs in the sixties to remember to take it. So we did have children and found we never stop caring about their futures. Our offspring will find the same if they bother having babies.
“In the long run the UK will be worse off.”
Lots of us will still be alive when the apocalypse comes, in 2030 or whenever young George Osborne (45) reckons that will be. We may not be around post-apocalypse but we may well live, with you, through the riotous failure of the EU long before that.
“You are hankering for the old days when Britain was in charge of an empire.”
Those of us over 60 remember the Empire and were generally relaxed about other countries deciding their own futures. Most of them managed quite well, which is why we think we’ll be OK too.
“You seem to have forgotten our history; there have always been wars in Europe, until the EU.”
Our ‘O-Level’ history syllabuses generally stopped at 1939 or earlier so we didn’t spend all our time learning about the Nazis, but there was time to discover that we stopped fighting the French in 1815, well before the EU was dreamed about. On the other hand lots of us had bomb sites for playgrounds; Lawrence Olivier reminded us about the horrors of the 1st World War (“The World At War” TV series, endlessly repeated) and there were loads of films about the 2nd one at the cinema, when we were young.
“We would be much better off staying in the EU and working with other European countries for a better future.”
What if the apocalypse
is not the one you predict – Britain falling apart – but the one we predict – the EU falling apart? The middle-aged remainers advising you haven’t taken that possibility into account, so their advice is lop-sided and delusional. The EU will collapse not through war or outside intervention but through its own internal contradictions.
“Could the next referendum please be about whether the youth of the population want to be independent of the elderly population.”
We can remember feeling just the same, all those years ago. Where will you draw the line? How will your independence be managed? What will you do with the rest of us? Will you never get old?