Get Registered and Decide Your Vote - Or Else Older People Will Do It for You

06/06/2016 17:14 | Updated 06 June 2016

young voter

"Older people who are registered will decide your future. You decide your future, get registered, get a smart phone and it just takes two minutes."

Eddie Izzard has recently backed the Stronger In campaign with a clear message for young voters before the 23 June that their voice really matters. I welcome what I call the Izzard effect; less sound bite and more genuine exuberance about what it is to be a British European today. It is well-known figures such as Izzard who are encouraging us to take control of our own destiny in a more palatable package as he tours sold-out venues such as universities in the coming weeks. This is why Izzard's message that we cannot let others decide for us resonates. The Izzard effect, travelling cheaply within the EU and good relations with our European neighbours is far more influential for a young voter in a more globalised world. It is why I will be voting for the UK to remain in the European Union.

We currently live in a "representative" democracy where 1.5million of the six million 18-24 year olds eligible to vote are not registered to vote. They more commonly come to be known as the "missing millions", and what this means is that there is seemingly sizeable gap between awareness about the referendum and realising that, unlike a general election, every vote counts. A stark reminder - in last year's General Election 43% of those aged 18-24 voted compared with 78% of over-65s turned out to vote. We have seen politicians of every political persuasion on the referendum circuit rightfully encouraging young people to register to have their say.

What I want to argue is if the UK was to leave the European Union, travelling to study and work would be more difficult for working class students. I believe barriers for social mobility stem from financial uncertainty. It is often the case that this uncertainty affects all your decisions and makes attaining financial aid the sole focus of your decision to make the step to go abroad. It is one of the driving factors about considering university in the first place.

Eurosceptics enjoy telling us that if the UK were to leave the European Union we would still be generation "easyJet" and universities would not stop seeking our academic partnership at our world class universities. That of course would be scaremongering to argue something so simplistic. However, I benefitted immensely from the Erasmus+ grant along with thousands of other young European students.

We cannot be certain this will be renegotiated or how many thousands of students will be left in limbo because Erasmus funding will be at the back on the line. I also made a conscious decision to go to Austria - that required no visas - and this helped plan my finances and most importantly it unlocked my future prospects.

As a young British European, the European Union facilitated my own aspirations to study abroad and do more than my parents and sister could ever dream of for me. The value I have derived from spending 12 months in another country and knowing I was one of the first in my family to attempt doing so was an important part of my life, and it has been priceless for myself and other working-class students.

The Erasmus programme is what the European Union was founded on; making the impossible seem possible. It seemed impossible that we could find peace amongst the ruins of war several decades ago but we achieved it. The Erasmus+ grant and support from the institution made going abroad not seem like such an impossible task for a young, working-class student.

I was recently discussing the EU with my mum and she asked why she should vote to remain and I simply said "look at me as an example" and she then saw what was made possible for her daughter's prospects. We should always want our children to be better off than ourselves and it is why she will be voting to remain on 23 June.

Talk to your parents, siblings and extended family. They want to know what your experience of the EU has been as a 21st century job hunter and young person has been and if you consider it more closely - we share those ideals of expanding our horizons with our European friends.

You have probably been asked by your mum if you have registered to vote yet. It will be one of the most important trips we will ever make to the ballot box - or via a postal vote - to decide whether we remain or leave the European Union.

HuffPost UK Young Voices is running a fortnight-long focus on the EU Referendum, examining what is at stake for Britain's young people on 23 June and why it's imperative you register to vote and have your say. If you want to have your say and blog on our platform around this topic, email Register to vote here.