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An Open Letter to a Generation I Once Admired

20/06/2016 15:32 | Updated 20 June 2016

"You need new heroes", I was told, as I struggled to hide my disappointment at England falling to a Russian equaliser at Euro 2016. Football aside... they were right.

This is an open letter to the over 50s. The voters and newspaper readers - the deciders of our fate, we're told.

My name is Darryl Morris. I am 25 years old and I am worried about my future.

From Middle England to the working classes, top to bottom, you are most likely to vote leave. This is your right and I respect that. It's your apparent reasoning that harbours the biggest threat to my generation and the world that lies ahead of us.

A fear and intolerance, of migrants or otherwise, has been placed at the heart of this debate and exploited endlessly by the opportunistic establishment. A debate on my future has been hijacked. They have turned us against each other... and you have fallen for it.

In the 60s, you laid the foundations for a world without hate. You shunned a politics that served the vested interests of the elite. You brought us gay liberation and the women's movement; you fought for freedoms and free speech. You explored your own consciousness like never before. Peace was not just a t-shirt print; it was something you envisaged as reality. You traveled and opened the world, and with that endless opportunities. You found and drank in new cultures. You danced to the sounds of Jamaica, Latin America and Cuba. You gathered and watched as we took mankind to the moon. You taught me that there is something bigger and more profound than what we know here on Earth. You taught me that, together, we could achieve anything. Nervous at the thought of your progressive ideals, Fleet Street dubbed you the 'Flower Children', but you knew this movement was much more powerful, much harder to undermine. You believed you could change the world... and I believe you did, for a time.

But now, what is left? You have become what you promised you wouldn't. You are cynical and fearful. No longer the purveyor of change, you have become scared of it and you are lashing out in a shameful rage. You are the peddler's of a toxic hatred and xenophobia. You have been convinced that your problems lie at the door of the nearest easy target and you are blaming them for your woes. Immigrants to welfare claimants, you have created a climate that leads to the brutal assassination of an MP, the disabled forced to get up and walk to prove their rights to support, desperate migrants turned away in the face of conflict - this is a world of prejudice, a world that victimises the vulnerable.

Yours is a generation we should be nurtured by, inspired by; a generation that should be guiding us to the paths of tolerance and respect for each other. Yet, I watch as you have destroyed the core human values you instilled in me - kindness, understanding and compassion. This is what it meant to be British, you told me. What the hell happened?

Worse still, you are using a referendum on the European Union as your punching bag. Thursday's decision is about the future, my future, not yours. I am devastated that you have used it as an opportunity to express your fears and hatred and I am ashamed of what you have become.

Look around you. Look at the poison you have created and ask yourself, what are you leaving me? This is your legacy and, regardless of Thursday's result, my generation may well spend the rest of our lives cleaning up.

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