As June 23 is approaching, Conflict Zone quizzed five young Brits on who they are rooting for in the Brexit battle and what impact a possible Brexit would have on their lives.
Ailie Crerar, 24, Glasgow: ‘We cannot let fear drive us apart’
“The EU is not a failure and it hasn’t run out of steam. If anything, it is probably restrained by increasingly conservative national governments, not the other way around. I will vote 100 percent remain. No doubt.
I’ve received personal benefits from the EU, in being able to travel and study abroad as an Erasmus student. The EU has done a lot to protect workers’ rights, promote equality, support human rights, protect the environment, and support culture. These are all things I care deeply about, and they are all things the current UK government has already tried to erode.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I think it’s not a coincidence that Europe has seen an unprecedented era of peace while the EU has been in existence. This union brought to end centuries of fighting, and has meant all nations must become more outward-looking and open to the world.
A Brexit would lead to an inward-looking, small-minded and largely xenophobic society, coupled with very difficult economic conditions through increased difficulties in trading with the EU. Unemployment and economic difficulties are not the fault of the EU, and will not disappear with leaving the EU. They’re the fault of austerity policies followed by conservative governments. A lot of people feel Brexit will magically solve their problems, when actually it will make them worse. Basically, we cannot let fear drive us apart, and that’s why I really hope we remain in the EU.”
Tom, 22, St. Andrews: ‘I don’t want the UK’s independence to be compromised’
“I will vote leave for several reasons. I do not identify as primarily European. Europe is not an organic identity and one I feel is being accelerated for purposes of affirmative action to strengthen the EU model in the face of growing dissatisfaction.
The UK has a place in the world as a global leader with one of the strongest armies in the world as well as a permanent seat on the security council. I do not want to see the UK’s interests undermined by joint sovereignty, a joint EU army or any other supranational organisation which will compromise the independence of the UK.
We have little say on negotiating trade deals and are restricted by EU regulations. In a modern, globalized world this is rather illogical, we should be able to establish free trade, which to a certain degree is mutually beneficial, without red tape.
British people have an identity in shared history, language and law which by far extends geography or ethnicity. Yet under the current EU rules, we must allow unlimited immigration from Europe purely by virtue of them being born on a piece of land and high requirements for others. 88 percent of EU workers in the UK would fail these tests. Leaving the EU would ensure a fairer system and demand a greater skillset, quality over quantity.”
Callum McCarthy, 24, London: ‘Who will serve us falafel and halloumi wraps at 3am?’
“This referendum isn’t about the efficiency of the European Union, or the impact it has on people’s lives. It’s all about how being part of the EU makes people feel.
Personally, I like the idea of my national identity spanning as far as it possibly can. But millions of Britons want to be British and nothing else, and don’t understand that being part of the EU has no bearing on that whatsoever.
I will vote to remain in the EU. I like that our cultures are being brought closer together as a result of this. I like that it keeps nations in constant discussion with one another about their common interests, as opposed to their differences.
I’m not worried about terror attacks, or ‘taking control of our borders.’ Any rhetoric about terror attacks increasing if we stay in the EU are absolute nonsense.
I worry for the economic future of Britain if Brexit goes through. Any restriction of trade or migration is going to have a disastrous effect on our economy, and on our way of life. So many of our public and private services rely on migrants to function. Most importantly, who will serve us falafel and halloumi wraps at 3am? Not British people, that’s for sure. Immigrants didn’t take those jobs, they created them.”
Lou Tan, 28, Brighton: ‘Nobody seems to know what will happen in case of a Brexit’
“I haven’t fully decided what I’m voting although I am leaning towards remain. If I think about what this decision means to me personally, remain would ensure that I am able to continue to travel freely between EU countries, and potentially live or work in an EU country in the future. Remain would mean that close friends who live in the UK but are citizens of other EU countries would not face difficulties staying in the UK following the referendum.
However, I want to also make my decision not just based on the benefits to myself personally but also on the future of the country, my future children and their children.
My parents want to vote leave because they believe that Europe on the whole is becoming increasingly secularized, and they no longer think it is a good idea for Britain to be subject to European laws which may go against more traditional Christian values that the country’s systems have been based upon in the past.
There are thousands of EU citizens living in Britain and also thousands of Brits living in EU countries and nobody seems to know what will happen to these people if Brexit happens. Will they have to apply for visas and pay to stay? Will they be deported until this happens?”
Thomas Tozer, 23, London: ‘EU membership helps our national security’
“I will vote remain because I believe that remaining is in Britain’s best interest. It strikes me as unrealistic that we could do as well economically post-Brexit as we had done before, since, fearing break-up of the Union and wanting to discourage any other prospective dissenters, the EU would have a strong incentive to make things, especially trade, difficult for us if we left.
I think the sharing of vital security information means that membership in the EU helps our national security. In terms of free movement, I think that open borders benefits us by giving Britons the opportunity to easily travel to and get a job in any EU country.
Finally, I think that in many ways our sovereignty will actually be enhanced by remaining in the EU, since we will be able to continue to influence the rules and trade deals that we might otherwise have to abide by without having any ability to influence, as is the case in Norway, for example.
Brexit could potentially reverse all the progress which the EU has made for good trading relationships, free movement, and peace in Europe. It could lead to a more isolationist Europe in which countries view each other more as competitors and less as friends. Now, more than ever, that would be a deplorable result.”