To the twenty-year-olds still screaming blue murder about the outcome of the Brexit referendum, some thoughts.
For context, I’m only slightly old (30) and I voted Remain, so am as disappointed at the outcome as any. What we ended up with and are now working to make the best of is the result of direct democracy – nothing more and nothing less. This is regardless of whether you maintain one campaign was even less competent than the other, or whether your chosen sub-population of the UK had a Remain majority. The latter is entirely irrelevant – it’s not how voting works, no matter how much you wish to reconstruct it to fit an agenda.
In particular, I’ll tackle the venom hurled at the ‘old people’ who have been held largely responsible for the result. They voted – many of those your age and mine didn’t. There is a stock assault of ‘they’re ancient, bigoted and pointless human beings…and they don’t understand anything’. Well, consider that these people have been around for two, three or four times as long as you. Yes, some may have picked up a few jaded outlooks and not updated their worldviews along the way, but they might just know a few things that you don’t. Many have accumulated realistic wisdom instead of blinkered idealism, known numerous political ups and downs, and some even remember a time when the public were forced to put their lives on the line to defend their liberty. Serious liberty – not the right to publicly flaunt some random part of your anatomy.
Your gap year inter-railing through Eastern Europe does not make you worldly-wise. For every right you think you may have, you also have at least one responsibility – probably two or three. If you’re livid about your pound sterling not being worth as much on holiday as it was, or potentially not being able to study at a EU university for free, you badly need to reset your benchmark of what matters. The world simply does not care. It’s indifferent to your personal demands – and that is a good thing.
Learn the meaning of the word liberal with a small ‘l’. It means to be tolerant (or even accepting) of alternative points of view. If you shout down the views of someone further along a spectrum than you or dismiss them with a stereotypical label, you are not liberal – you are intolerant. Those ‘old people’ I mentioned may also remember an era when people tried to make political extremes take hold – both on Right AND Left. You may be aware of how those worked out. The Left is not soft – do not be fooled.
You need to decide whether you’re a democrat or a spoiled brat. Instead of signing up to Generation Snowflake, with its staggering level of entitlement without a single drop of substance to back it up, return back to the real world where most of us live.
The UK may be becoming a laughing stock internationally. But, only part of this is due to Brexit. Mostly, it’s because more and more people abroad are aware that the generation due to inherit our islands, companies, government and institutions are becoming overwhelmed from within by the infantile, naïve, unwilling, and just plain unable.
So. Invent something. Build something – then really back it and make it a success. Read more, listen more, debate more, learn more, try more. Fail - work out why and then solve it. Make something of your time. But first, stop whining because you didn’t get your way.