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If We Leave Europe, It Will Be Young People Who Suffer the Most

15/06/2016 17:11 | Updated 15 June 2016

young voter

Why would I want the UK government to have full control over law making when all it does is introduce laws that alienate young people like me? That is question I wish the leave campaign to answer, and the reason I'm voting to remain.

As the 23rd of June draws ever closer the untrustworthy and hyperbolic rhetoric on everything from economics to education in this EU debate has broadened into an ugly beast, not even a mother could love. As a result, many younger people have complained, and quite rightly, that the debate is so convoluted, injected with partisan bias and sultry personalities that they feel disenfranchised by the whole thing.

Confused we may be, but young people do not need to know the details of both sides of this unattractive debate to know they've been alienated by the current British government, and left out in the cold after many rounds of punishing policy decisions.

Put bluntly, no young person with future aspirations beyond crippling debt and an underpaid job could possibly trust the UK parliament to have their best interests at heart. We've paid over £9000+ a year to attend university that used to cost 3000, we will be in debt for most of our adult lives, maintenance grants will be taken away, I don't think we'll ever get a pension nor be able to afford a house in the next decade. And if I'm honest, our secondary education does nothing to prepare us for the aforementioned challenges. Oh and the NHS is being butchered at an ever alarming rate, I think we'll need that when we're older.

You can forgive me then, when I ask the question :Why would I want the UK government to have full control over my future?

I may be bitter, but I do not think I'm being entitled when I ask to be considered in a national debate that effects my future more than most. Anyone can see that both the UK and EU parliaments have their flaws, but I feel that what I want the UK to be, or perhaps the opportunities I would like the UK to provide me, cannot exist without integration into the EU.

For example, my right to travel where and when it suits me. I may not like the government at home, but at least I have the option to move. This is true of job opportunities and holidays alike.If I don't have a job I can move, if I can't afford rent I can move, if I can't afford university I can move, If I want to immerse myself in another European culture of language I can move.

Consequently, the way I see myself in the world fundamentally differs from older generations. Isolation simply does not appeal to me, and neither do any notions of patriotism. I've grown up, as have many, in ethnically diverse classrooms and lecture halls, exposed to cultures and ideas outside my own which, above all, has taught me that the world outside my own is larger and worth caring about.

As such, I can't say I mind the EU undermining the sovereignty of an elected national government, partly because I don't trust the British government, but mostly because I wish my voice and agency to transcend borders. Young people like me want to be part of a border-less world, we want to travel unimpeded, shape and be shaped what we encounter. That is a fundamental part of our ethos, we want to leave isolationism in the past where it belongs and enter into a modern diverse world where cooperation, compromising and conceding is the norm.

The fact that we might not always get our own way is, in the grand scheme of things, a very good thing, and that is entirely the point. I feel as a nation we lack an appreciation of what the EU is trying to achieve - a cultural and political project bringing nations and people together for the greater good. That last bit is key, "the greater good", it's painfully obvious that the UK government is not implementing laws for the greater good, it is as simple as that. As for my generation, we are stone cold last on the list of beneficiaries of economic gain and policy making.

I conceded the EU is no benevolent organisation, it has serious issues with corruption and transparency, but at least it tries to introduce regulation that benefits hundreds of millions rather than hundreds. When I look at the EU I see a progressive world leader in financial regulation, environmental policy, animal rights, employment legislation, paid holiday, parental leave, limits on excessive hours, the right to maternity pay, consumer protection regulation, regulates on trading standards, controls on Flight and mobile phone charges, UK as well as University and science funding so crucial to many young people who rely on it to enter into rewarding scientific careers. Not to mention financial assistance for many of the most disadvantaged regions in the EU.

Called "red tape" by many Brexiter's, the above laws forms but a fraction of UK policy, and most of them benefit my generation. In fact the EU is in a prime position to tackle one of the most pressing border-less issues of our age; the abuses of the banks, who continue to avoid tax, manipulate policy and generally act in a selfish manner. The financial crisis has put a strain on young people more than most and the British government seem indifferent to our calls for help, whereas the EU has proposed the financial transactions tax (against the wishes of our government, who seem to be caught in somewhat of a conflict of interest). Frankly, any control on the banks, even by a European parliament, is better than no regulation at all, and I don't see the UK introducing polices to control the banks any time soon. It would be naïve to believe that allowing the current UK government full control over our laws would benefit anyone other than 1% (and certainly not young people).

The fact is, I need the EU to keep my government in check, I need the EU to control the financial sector that is tearing Britain into unequal chunks of extreme wealth and poverty, but most of all, I need the EU so the British government does not continue to benefit for my generations political apathy, implementing laws that take advantage of our alienation.

HuffPost UK Young Voices is running a month-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 ukblogteam@huffingtonpost.com. Register to vote here.

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