Why Remain Is Arrogant to Assume It Has Young Vote in the Bag

15/06/2016 17:10 | Updated 15 June 2016

young voter

It may be news to some, but at the moment we're not texting aimlessly at the dinner table, we're reading about #Brexit on Twitter.

Stronger In have made the mistake of putting an entire generation of angry and disenchanted young voters into a box labelled "Remain Voters". That could be a big mistake.

Opinion polls and politicians have dismissed the young vote as automatically pro-EU. Loud mouth commentators such as Katie Hopkins have called first-time voters "all mouth and no trousers". For many, this demographic - my generation - seems largely disengaged and probably too lazy to turn up to vote anyway.

But we're engaged in a different way, far from the prying eyes of pollsters and politicians. The EU referendum is being discussed in our private Facebook and Whatsapp group chats.

And while we may tilt towards Remain, there are plenty of us who are genuinely unsure about where our X goes on 23 June. And we're a bit puzzled as to why the Cameron-led remain campaign think our votes are pretty much in the bag.

Cameron has been trying to garner support from a group of people his government has continually bashed for the past 6 years. And he and his chums now think we'll just trot into the voting booth and back him.

What great political thinkers assume that young voters facing immediate threats from the loss of student maintenance loans will dutifully, and en masse, walk in line behind them? Or that we will be scared by project fear whilst facing an immediate threat of another huge hike in student loans?

The attacks on the young generation are now and immediate. They are not forecasts about what might happen if we leave the EU.

One of my friends is beginning a nursing degree in September, and she's not worrying about a post-Brexit apocalypse. She's worrying about what will happen to her student bursary, this year.

Most of all, she's leaning towards voting out. Shock horror for both left and right in the Remain camp. A working class, first-time voter, with no allegiance to any political party, wants to vote Leave. And she intends to work in the NHS.

The assumption that all young voters are pro-EU by default is a misinformed one. I'm tilted towards remain, but the Leave campaign has been gaining traction, coincidentally in the same week as a soaring number of people registering to vote, many of whom were under the age of 25.

And what of the non-Cameron remainers? Until recently, the Labour effort I could see to encourage young people to register to vote was to send out some last-minute tweets from Jeremy Corbyn's twitter account.

The lack of action reminded me of times my dad has asked me to do the dishes but has come home to find all I've done is put them in the sink. Only now have Labour dropped the 'can't be arsed' attitude and stepped up their game - probably too late.

The EU referendum is not a left vs right issue or even a right vs far right issue for young voters. Many are unfamiliar with these terms to begin with. Instead, we are intently focused on the next few years of our lives; college, university, employment, housing ladder, the tick-list goes on.

The biggest - and worse - impact on our lives have been the Cameron-led Government's targeting of our generation. Not scary forecasts, but real impact, right now and on-going.

And now he's the figurehead for a Remain campaign that needs our vote. The campaign that arrogantly assumes our votes are in the bag.

We'll all have all sorts of reasons which will push us to vote one way or another. Voting Brexit, despite us being leaning towards Remain, puts temptation in our way.

And it's one way - for some - of giving Cameron a good kicking for what he's done to my generation. Negative maybe, but hardly less reprehensible than the excessive scaremongering and self-serving posturing from both sides in this debate.

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 Register to vote here.