The first thing I said to my sister as she came in to wake me up on Friday morning was “Are we in?” The forced thin-lipped smile on her face and gentle shake of the head told me the news – we voted ‘Out’.
My initial reaction: holy crap. What have we done?
The whole of my Sixth Form College that day was groaning with bitterness about the result of the referendum. Even at 8:00am there were plenty of stories flying around of kids arguing with parents, larger family feuds emerging over Facebook, and genuine plans to join any protests or riots that spark up. Needless to say, my peers were almost exclusively Remainers.
Which is what makes it so frustrating that we had no say in this referendum. As a seventeen-year-old I don’t usually care that I’m not yet able to vote – that privilege will come to me soon enough – but Brexit will undoubtedly affect my future, and I’m not alone in feeling hung up on being denied a contribution to this massive decision.
My social media feeds have been vomiting Brexit rage since the result was announced, particularly from 16-17 year olds who just missed out on the vote. The general consensus, as you may have guessed, is that we are not happy. Here are just a few examples:
‘Political persuasion shouldn’t be based on scaring people into submission. Unfortunately I think a proportion of the Brexit voters have been persuaded into believing that they are being patriotic in voting Leave, and can reduce immigration in a way that is discriminatory to minority groups. No one has been truly well informed on this debate. Partially because there’s no way of truly determining the consequences of leaving or remaining, but mainly because no one has actually worked on informing the nation in any beneficial way.’
– Hannah Kilcoyne, 17
‘It feels like us 16 and 17 year olds are being completely ignored by the political system… I thought I’d be able to have a stable future, go to university and maybe reside in Germany and come back to a home occasionally without much fuss. Now we’re being forced to change our life plans and hopes because we have literally no idea what could happen next. The next two years are going to feel like the rollercoaster ride from Hell for our generation.’
– Harry Harrison, 16
‘Our future. Not yours. Our generation will have to deal with the shit the old generation has caused. In every divorce, the children suffer. Y’all hate immigrants more than you love your children… we 16-17 year olds have no say in this yet pensioners who are likely to die before feeling the full frontal effect of leaving the EU, can vote. We’ve lost billions; 15 years’ worth of EU investments before 12pm… did you really think immigration was worth more than your economy going through recession.’
– Madeehah Ali, 17
It carries on. Even after a day to mull over Britain’s situation posts are still pelting my news feeds, though the mood appears to have shifted now from anger to remorse. We’ve hit stage five of the seven stages of grief – detachment (although that term does rub salt in the wound a little bit).
And so it seems the Millennials and Generation Z will have to sit in anticipation of a shaky few years, and wait with bated breath for what’s to come.