Written by: Imran Barakzai
There are multiple reasons for the Brexit vote, but in my opinion by far the most important one can be summarised in a single word 'immigration'. Only a couple of weeks before the vote, the leave campaign was ruthless in focusing on our fears of foreigners.
Unfortunately this has been shown time and time again to be a great vote winner all over the world.
The British public have suffered extremely badly since the financial crisis. The real wages of the average person fell by almost 10 percent between 2007 and 2016. This had nothing to do with what class you were in- poor, middle and rich all have lost out. It had been longest sustained fall in average pay since the great depression and it has made a handful of people very annoyed with the establishment.
These wage falls and poor job prospects have nothing to do with immigration and everything to do with the financial crisis and its slow recovery. But because immigration tripled since 2004, lots of you have a friend or a family member going for a job and a European migrant gets it. Trust me it sucks.
Obviously it’s easy to point a finger at foreigners as the cause of labour market problems. This is the 'lump of labour fallacy' in action- the false idea that there is a fixed number of jobs to go around.
People often find it very hard to get in a good school nowadays for their kids. Since there's such a broad scale of migrants using the public sectors as well. That’s what people think 'I pay tax but I am not getting the top quality public service I deserve'. Again, this is completely wrong as immigrants pay more in taxes that they take out it welfare, so they are on net subsidising public services for the UK-born.
The BBC being the main source of information for ordinary people, which was particularly awful throughout the referendum debates. It reported for hours the breath taking lies of the leave campaign in particularly over the '350 million a week EU budget contribution'. This created the impression that there was just some disagreement between the sides, whereas it was clearly a lie. The media and the BBC also failed to reflect the consensus view of the economics profession on the harm of brexit. A survey of British economists showed that every one respondent though there would be economic benefits to brexit over the next 5 years, there were 22 who thought we'd be worse off. But only time can tell.
So now to the question many young people will be asking 'how will brexit effect us'?
Britain’s membership of the EU means that citizens are able to not only work but also live anywhere within the 28 countries of the EU. The exit of the EU does majorly effect those who would like to go to University and study abroad. Figures from OECD last year showed that undergraduates in England pay the highest tuition fees in the world. This has led to some younger students who are not that financially well off to study in much cheaper European universities, most likely in Germany and Netherlands. More than 15,000 study in Norway and Turkey according to the daily telegraph. Brexit will have a major effect for those wanting to come into England and study or those in England who want to study abroad. This makes the situation harder than it already is.
Many young people choose to take a gap year in Europe or travel regularly on the continent. The threat that brexit poses to visa free travel is a concern for some. Recently from the guardian they interviewed Jason Naylor from Wigan and he said` I personally don’t want or live or work in Europe but travelling for holidays is essential for the majority and it would be great always to have the option to live or work there too. I think Brexit would leave out ability to travel, live or work in Europe` from that we can conclude that leaving the EU could lead to many restrictions for travelling around Europe and finding work even harder as well.
A key issue also raised is the ongoing housing crisis, which is disproportionately affecting us young people, and migration will naturally have an impact on the number of available homes. Being concerned of immigration does not make you racist or immoral, but don’t believe the lies about EU migrants being pushed up the social housing list. Exiting the EU will not change the fact that the government is not building enough homes for us.
We are all young, and you have the whole of Europe at your feet. Some people in this world don’t have that privilege. Do not throw it way. As others have said, the middle aged want a divorce and they don’t care that it’s the children who will suffer the most. They want to build a fantasy country.
Let’s think to the future.