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Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

10/10/2016 16:36

Dystopian Britain. Boris Johnson cries 'Brexit will liberate our nation', as words fall out of him during his conservative party conference speech. The same smoggy Dickensian morning, the pound slumped to a 31-year low.

In the current period of global instability - what does the future mean for post-Brexit Britain? Will war in the middle-east ever end? Is a compulsive liar, tax avoiding man-child going to become the leader of the free world? - it's not difficult to despair somewhat.

Even Farage has jumped off the sinking ship - just to not-so-reluctantly hop back on.

Theresa May has just come under fire for hinting that foreign doctors will only be welcome to work for the NHS until 2025, another canapé to add to an already brimming menu of insults made by the post-Brexit Government.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote on Twitter:

"The arrogance of this from UKG is breathtaking...like they're somehow doing these doctors a favour by 'allowing' them to save lives here."

But there is some hope.

The current political situation has brought new voices to the surface, crucially, younger people exercising their right to smack down ideas they disagree with in as many different, creative, and downright weird ways as they can.

Especially when it comes to Trump.

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Due to how marginal the EU referendum was, the fall-out of the leave vote has resulted in considerably more people speaking up about what they believe in. Many youngsters feel robbed, if it were just 18-25 year olds who were allowed to vote we would be - decidedly and reassuringly - very much in.

But this is good. We need more people to engage with politics. I mentioned in a previous post the 'epidemic' of youth disassociation with politics. Remember that at last years' General Election, only 43% of 18-24 year olds turned up to vote. And if the vote just counted those aged 18-24, we would currently have government from the other side of the political spectrum. 43% of young people that voted last year voted Labour, and 27% voted Conservative. These figures are essentially reversed for those aged 65+.

When the Referendum came around, the number of 18-24 voting jumped to 64%, however ultimately were shrouded by the 90% of over-65s that also went to the polls. Many were angry, and took to social media to let that be known. Anger is obviously not the right way to have a level-headed, meaningful debate. However in this case, it does seem to have got more people onside and involved.

Lara Prendergast at the Spectator wrote that "There has never been a more blunt, painful and glorious expression of how democracy works - and if that has brought many of my generation into the political fold, so much the better."

Momentum, the political organisation that support and champion Jeremy Corbyn, started in October 2015, and less than a year later has over 17,000 members. And at the Labour Party conference this month, the group held their own event down the road with huge numbers attending, focused on spreading their message.

As Corbyn proudly mentioned at his speech at Labour's annual conference, the membership of his party has rocketed to such an extent that it is now one of the largest parties in Western Europe - with more members than all other British Parties put together. Young people have made up an incredible proportion of this statistic and this means their voices are beginning to be heard in mainstream politics.

But it is still not enough. To ignore politics or to intentionally decide not to vote is to take democracy for granted. It is to take for granted your right to use twitter and Facebook to express how you feel, and it is to take for granted your right to offend.

Such as your right to do this:

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But we need to keep going. We need to educate each other on the issues that affect us, we need to be open, transparent and realistic about what we want and we need a platform.

The current government are too busy puffing up their chests and seeing how much they can get away with to come close to a coherent plan for Brexit. We need to get our foot in door and make sure they negotiate something that works best for us. After all, in a few years, it'll be us that has to fix it.

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