EU Referendum: A Tale Of Love, Loss And Desperation

As I write this, it’s been over 700 days since the country narrowly voted to leave the European Union. Madness, isn’t it? There must be people who have met, fell in love (or into bed), got engaged and then married, all since that fateful night. Admittedly, that couple must’ve had a pretty wild ride, which is pretty similar to the country.
Like many a romance, the preconditions for that night were long the making.
In 2013, David Cameron (remember him?) gave a speech where he said that if the Conservatives won the next General Election, he would negotiate with the European Union and then set out a ‘simple choice’ to the British People. This was broadly because of his (legitimate) fears of the rise of the UK Independence Party, led by Nigel Farage (remember him? We’ll come back to this theme in a bit). UKIP continued to rise in the polls after his speech, leading them to ‘win’ the European elections in 2014.
2015 came and went, and so did Ed Miliband (remember him?). David Cameron and George Osborne (you get the drift) won an unexpected majority in the UK General Election, and were therefore burdened to deliver on their aforementioned promise. Summer of 2016 was the date, and with the surprising election of Eurosceptic Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, the stars aligned for the most divisive referendum campaign this country have ever seen.
I’m not going into the details of who did what-and-why-did-that-happen, if the EU Referendum campaign – not least because lots of you were there. It’s probably important to note that 1.4 million young people who are old enough to vote now (and some of whom might be reading this, fresher), were not deemed mature enough to take part in the biggest issue that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
But we know the headlines – xenophobia and racism run amok, 350 million pounds that didn’t go to the NHS, students and young people voted in record numbers to Remain at rates of 70% and above. Promises (or vows) were made that weren’t kept. If the world feels like a different place, it’s because the summer of 2016 was one were Donald Trump wasn’t President, people still thought Boris Johnson told the truth and Love Island wasn’t even really a thing.
So here we are, hundreds of days later. At this point, you may have noticed – this story isn’t really about falling in love and getting married. It’s the quite the opposite – slipping into hate and getting an acrimonious divorce.
Whether you voted Leave or Remain (and by the way, Bath students voted 88% to Remain two years ago), we can all agree – Brexit isn’t a done deal, and it’s a big deal. A cursory glance outside your window will show that our Customs arrangement hasn’t been fixed, threatening a hard border and a harder won peace in Northern Ireland. No clarity for our EU Staff and Students about what will happen to them if we leave. Little thought into Erasmus Plus which places tens of thousands of students every year abroad to study and work, currently unfunded and not guaranteed.
Imagine our newly loved up couple, buying a home together for the first time. They want to move into a new place. But when they decide they do, and the new house they look at has termites, and is built on unstable foundations, they probably should get a chance to re-think, based on new information. Unfortunately, sometimes when someone knows they’ve messed up and don’t think they can fix it, they do a runner. (I told you we’d get back to David Cameron/Nigel Farage at some point)
That’s why I’m part of a campaign called For our Future’s Sake – a youth and student-led campaign calling for a People’s Vote on the Brexit Deal. Made up of students and young people across the UK and political spectrum – or not political at all – they all believe what I do. That the world is a difference place to 2016, new facts have emerged and Brexit isn’t inevitable. If you’re interested, drop me a line or go to FFSakes.uk
It shouldn’t be a surprise at this point, that I think our couple should stay together, if only for the children.

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