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Saturday, June 25, 2016

BREXIT: WHO VOTES FOR THE YOUNG?


Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23473560

CAN OLDER VOTERS BREAK THEIR ADDICTION TO THE PAST? CAN THEY WELCOME THE FUTURE?

Before the BREXIT vote, we knew that Scottish voters favored REMAIN. A majority in London, Cambridge and Oxford favored REMAIN. The rest of England favored LEAVE.

After the BREXIT LEAVE margins were announced, we learned that younger voters in their twenties were terribly disappointed. Older voters claimed victory. The collective national decision favored older people.

Age groups voted differently on BREXIT. Younger people tended to favor REMAIN. The LEAVE option was supported by older voters.

For instance, the Manchester Guardian Newspaper, the wonderful outlet I turn to frequently, (http://www.theguardian.com) reported that:

Younger voters are dismayed at the results.

Why dismay? 

Some young people grieved that immigration to the U.K. would be closed to wonderful young friends they’d made from other Economic Union nations like Lithuania. Why? Because the current EU open borders policy will be rescinded and migration back and forth across the Channel will be more difficult.

English youth also wondered about their own options to work on the Continent--in Germany and France and elsewhere. 

Finally, as the English Pound lost 6% of value Thursday evening and Friday, the young worried about their economic future.

BREXIT was the closing of England while the Fall of the Wall (Berlin, November 1989) was the opening of Germany. The opening of the wall allowed the circulation of people. BREXIT impedes the movement of people into England as well as out of England. BREXIT is the opposite of the fall of the Wall.

Someone once told me: In understanding Europe, “local” is the most important factor. Europeans mix best with others who speak their language and their own local accent (Swiss German is spoken somewhat differently than Berlin’s German for example.) Localism prevailed in the BREXIT election. England first—first and as it was!

However, during its recent past from the 1940s onward, England has been looking outward through its farsighted leadership in WW II, the Commonwealth of Nations, the United Nations, the worldwide Anglican Communion, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and, until now, the European Economic Union. Why should it turn its back on such a heritage?

Regrets abound in the U.K. today, June 25. On this, the day after the pro-BREXIT results became clear, over one million British have signed a petition on a government website requesting a second BREXIT vote. Some parliamentarians have said they’ll take up the question next week. 

Meanwhile, Scottish leaders have declared today that dissolving their association with the United Kingdom will come up again in a Scottish election. It’s reported that Scots would prefer to remain with Europe rather than with England if BREXIT forces such a choice. Meanwhile, candidate Donald Trump hopped into Scotland today on private business and blurted out congratulations to the LEAVE majority vote. Scottish national leaders refused to meet him!

Voters wherever you are: the world is changing. Younger voters seem to have a better grip on the reality of the future. Old guys and old gals too: let’s start listening carefully to the young. It’s their future. 

Must we vote to preserve the past? Might we vote with and for our children and grandchildren to welcome a more values-informed future through our voting? 

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