I hate the term Millennial, the connotations of which make us a self obsessed generation. ‘Seventy-one percent of American adults think of 18-to-29-year-olds — millennials, basically — as “selfish,” and 65% of us think of them as “entitled.” That’s according to the latest Reason-Rupe Poll, a quarterly survey of 1,000 representative adult Americans.’ (http://time.com/3154186/millennials-selfish-entitled-helicopter-parenting/)
This article is going to be one of self indulgence because, and I realise the irony, once again our voices have not been heard. I’m emotional and angry and I know we need to be unified but as a young person living with other people’s decisions I’ve had enough.
In the wake of the referendum ‘the people have spoken’ is a notion that I struggle with. I respect that this has been a democratic decision but I don’t agree with it and herein lies the struggle; I have to respect your decision and you mine, mine and the generation of young people who will once again feel hard done by.
Much has been said in the press over the last decade or so about how millennials are selfish (http://www.macleans.ca/education/uniandcollege/study-confirms-millennials-are-generation-me/) (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/04/why-are-the-baby-boomers-desperate-to-make-us-millennials-hate-ourselves) but I’d argue the opposite. We are rebelling against a system that has been built and fitted around a generation that damaged our economy. The baby boomer generation have not had it all easy but they have had the following which we will not, free university education and an unsustainable pension scheme that mine will pale in comparison to, I bet that by the time I am of retirement age I will be about 80. A far cry from the 65 that has been the norm for decades.
As a young person I was subject to a conservative government who tripled university fees, as a recent graduate am sitting on a minimum of £45,000 in debt and that doesn’t include the recent devious move around interest rates (https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/nov/25/student-loans-george-osborne-criticised-freezing-repayment-threshold). I was subject to another 5 year term of fiscal inequality and a recession that I was not responsible for. And now I have been subject to leaving the EU, again something my demographic were seemingly overtly against. ‘Those living in Scotland, with a university education or aged below 30 are most likely to want to stay in the EU, according to new polling data released by YouGov.’ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/22/eu-referendum-which-type-of-person-wants-to-leave-and-who-will-b/).
As a man turning 22 in three weeks the last decade or so have taught me that I am going to be paying the price for decisions that I did not want or could not have a say in. Call me greedy if you want but I had no hand in the over extension of borrowing that caused the 08 crash. Call me selfish but I have had university fees forced upon from a government who took advantage of those who weren’t even of age to vote and a party who went back on an explicit promise. ‘A poll published last week showed the extent of the generational schism in the EU debate. It was revealed that 75% of 18- to 24-year-olds said they supported remain, compared with 38% of 50- to 64-year-olds (and 34% of those aged 65 and over). For many of us, this is the generation of our parents, our friends’ parents, our uncles and aunts. We have been raised to believe that they have our best interests at heart, but as far as this referendum is concerned all I have seen is self-interest.’ (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/20/britain-young-people-eu-older-generation-brexit-vote). Call me self-obsessed but there was an overwhelming cry from my age to remain a member of the EU and look at the bigger picture and yet again we have been overruled, I guess that is just part of democracy.
I’m not saying I know the perfect way to run a county or make decisions, I don’t agree with them but I have to respect the democracy, the problem is that democracy is not in my favour. I understand that this was a democratic vote and necessary but that doesn’t mean that I have to agree with it and not be frustrated by it. It does however mean that I have to respect it.
There is a reason that young people seem to become disengaged in politics and it is because time and time again we are bearing other people’s consequences. We are the future of Britain and yet again we have been overruled by the very system that we are meant to believe in. So call us millennials and call us selfish or disengaged but remember that we are living with the consequences of others choices. We have been told to trust a system that has continually let us down. Don’t be surprised when we become ambivalent towards that system.
We have had choices forced upon us. We have been overruled constantly and yes we are young and learning but unfortunately we are learning that no matter how hard we shout or how hard we try we are being forced to go it alone. Even in the face of an EU split when we are meant to pull together and unify, and I stress again that we will try, we are finding out yet again that going it on our own is ‘best for business’. I don’t want to do that and will actively try to not to but it is hard when our voices are not heard and we have to bare others choices.
This is a momentous day in politics for good and bad reasons but it is also a momentous day for my voting habits as my faith in the system and value of the ‘young vote’ has been seriously dented. Just another one in a long line of injustices that I cannot help but feel hard done by. I said this article would seem selfish and an emotional response and it has been but while I’ve had enough of having a minority voice I still have to live with the consequences and we should all work together to work out how we move forward. I need to get over my disappointment and will do in time, we need to be a United Kingdom, but it will not be easy. Once again I’m am going to struggle to try and accept a decision that my generation didn’t want but we will try anyway because we want a better Britain, even if that confidence is fading every time decisions are made on my behalf. Remember that while 52% voted to leave 48% still want to stay. We need to accept the fact that it is done but also that it was not unanimous.
Despite this lets soak in this moment whether we agreed with it or not we have changed the face of the U.K., Europe and the world. We may not like it but we have no choice now what has been done is done. I just pray that my generation aren’t disenfranchised by it. Just remember that we are not a selfish generation we are a generation who are seriously losing faith as our voices are drowned out time and time again but a generation who will try to move forward in unity with the rest of the UK. It is not, as some have said, only dark days ahead, we have control of our future. I am merely trying to raise the issue that there is reason that the young can feel disenfranchised.