I want to be proved wrong. I want our economy to grow, jobs to be protected, household wages to grow, and household bills not to soar. I desperately hope that the experts that the Leave camp so often disparaged are actually wrong. I hope that my future, and the future of my generation and generations to come, isn’t hampered because of a decision very much made by others. Because vast swathes of our country, our communities, can’t afford the economic predictions made by those experts or the Remain camp.
The election results in Wales on May 6th were heartbreaking, and I spent most of the day in tears. I expected to feel the same way in the event that we voted to leave the EU. But now I’m angry. Angry that we’ve become selfish and inward looking and we’ve turned our backs not only on Europe and the world but on ourselves; our and future generations. Angry that we seem content to blame and demonise others.
My generation and future generations will again pay the price for the decisions of others. I have spent the last 8 years being involved with politics campaigning to give young people a real stake in our democracy, and in one fell swoop older generations have told us to not don’t bother, because our interests are best determined by others, they know what’s best for us. This is yet another election where an entire generation will be handed a decision made by others and told to grit our teeth and make it work. At least we know, having seen the overwhelming majority of young people voting remain, that our generation will be more tolerant, hopeful, and internationalist.
But it’s not just about the economy. Yes, the EU is good for jobs, businesses, our housing market, our industries, cheaper travel, and trade. All of those things are incredibly and massively important, and the poorest and most vulnerable in our society and our communities will now pay the price. The Goves, Johnsons and Farages of this world will go back to them and their own, having taken the working classes and poorest in our communities for a ride.
No, I voted Remain because of the values and principles on which the EU was founded and continues to fight for still today. After the tragic loss of Jo Cox and a deeply divided Britain we need these values and principles now more than ever. Democracy, liberty, equality, human dignity and human rights. We can never give up on those values, and I’m proud that Tim Farron is leading the calls for progressive voices across the UK to be heard in what’s ahead. Leave wasn’t a vote for democracy when our democracy is broken, removed from daily life, and we’ll simply move power from “unelected bureaucrats” in Brussels, to Westminster, a space soon to be possibly led by the extreme right-wing of British politics. It’s shameful that whilst Britain has long stopped the extreme right-wing from taking hold in our politics, we are the generations that become complicit in peddling their division and fear.
I voted Remain because being a part of the EU allows us to share those values with countries across the world, strengthening our world democracy, bringing equality, liberty and dignity to the lives of people across the world. Because people across Europe and the world will be worse off too, because Britain will no longer be a world leader. We’ll seen as the people who preferred to pull up the drawbridge and ignore the rest of the world. Whilst the rest of the world reaches out, we pull back.
My politics, my vote for Remain, are a statement of my values, and a statement of the country and society in which I want to live. I worry about the country we’ll become when we legitimise racism, bigotry and xenophobia. When ‘othering’ is so longer a problem. There’s no two ways about this – Thursday’s vote will be perceived by some as a mandate for right-wing politics to take hold, a legitimisation for racism and xenophobia, and we’ve already seen an increase in hate crime on our streets. Don’t let it happen, not in our name.
I urge everyone, anyone, if you’re anything but happy about the outcome, join a political party, join a campaign, get active, because for as long as stay quiet we’ll be forgotten.