On June 23 Britain voted to leave the European Union in a historic referendum. According to The Huffington Post, 75% of 18-24-year-olds voted to stay in the EU, while over 61% of people over 60 voted to leave. It is rare to hear that a person under the age of 24 voted to leave the EU, but that is exactly what one Kingston University student did. The 22-year-old, who did not wish to be identified, spoke to The River about why he made that decision.
Why did you vote to leave the EU?
“Basically, I was not satisfied with the direction the EU is headed and there were many reasons why I voted to leave. However, these are my main reasons:
I wanted to bring back democracy to the UK. The president of the EU is not elected by the people, but appointed by EU bureaucrats.
Many of our laws are made in the EU, and the British Parliament and British Courts have no power to veto those laws.
There are the issues with uncontrolled mass immigration from other EU countries as well. Our schools, NHS and transport are overcrowded and it is getting out of hand.
There are also plans to create a national EU army. The EU commission denied this at first but now they are in the process of creating an EU army. That means the UK will be intervening in other EU countries’ wars. For example, let’s say an EU country like Croatia or Slovenia went to war with another country, the UK would be fighting that war since we are part of the EU army. I don’t see why we have to get involved in other countries’ wars.”
What do you dislike most about the European Union?
“The fact that someone like Tony Blair can become president of the EU. Many people forgot about this, or don’t even know, but when EU presidency was created, Tony Blair was one of the first people to be considered for that position. Blair was a horrible Prime Minister who lied to the British public and waged an illegal war with Iraq and killed millions of innocent lives. He is hated by the British people as well as people from other European countries. The fact that he was even considered showed that EU bureaucrats don’t care about what the public thinks.”
Is there anything you like about the EU?
“Yes, there is one thing I like and that’s the climate change policy. I think it’s a very sensible and right approach to reduce carbon footprint.”
Were you ever a supporter of the EU?
“Not really, no. I never understood the reason why there was ever a European Union in the first place. I know one of the main reasons it was created was to prevent war between European countries, but there are plenty of other ways to achieve peace without creating a political union like the EU. Like, for example, by signing a peace treaty and reducing the size of the military.”
Did you tell other students about your vote? If so, how did they react?
“I wrote a status update on Facebook saying that I voted to leave the EU and I received angry hate messages in my inbox, so I quickly took down the status update. Thankfully, I don’t think many people saw that. Also, when the result was announced the next morning, my Facebook news feed was filled with angry status updates from people who voted to remain. They wrote that anyone who voted to leave are racist, xenophobic, bigoted idiots. This is why I do not wish to be identified. I don’t want to receive abusive hate messages.”
What do you have to say to those who label leavers as racist and xenophobic?
“Just because someone voted to leave does not make them a racist or xenophobe. As I said before, I voted to leave because I was not satisfied the direction the EU is headed. It’s got nothing to do with someone’s race. Also, I think that using the race card is a distraction from talking about all the things that are wrong with the EU.”
Now that we are seeing the effect of leaving the EU – devaluing of the GBP, prices being hiked – do you still think it was worth voting to leave?
“Yeah, it was worth the vote, and I don’t regret it at all. We are tightly integrated within the EU and leaving will have some negative effects but I don’t think they are long term. I know there have been many discussions about the consequences of leaving the EU, and to what extent the UK is going struggle, but I think it’s hugely exaggerated. Norway and Switzerland are not part of the EU and they are doing just fine. We will also be fine outside the EU. There is nothing to worry about.”