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Opinion Matrix: Brexit response and what it means for us

It is easy to be angry and to blame it on racism. It is easy to say that you don’t understand and be shocked by the result. It is easy to remove those people who don’t agree with you from your feeds. However, this is exactly what the supporters of the winning campaign chose. They chose to be divisive, to split you by fear and to stop you from talking to each other. Don’t let them have the power.

This is a wake-up call. It is a not a beacon of hatred or intolerance. It is the biggest internal conflict that we have faced in a generation. If we truly wanted to remain, then we must be the ones to make an effort to listen to those that didn’t. If we promote inclusion and tolerance, then this is our opportunity to shape the outcome to reflect this.

This is a wake-up call. It is a not a beacon of hatred or intolerance

Isolation and divisiveness may have permeated the campaign, it may have helped to win votes, but it does not have to be a part of the conclusion. If we open our arms as a country to those that feel isolated, that needed to be selfish yesterday, that felt lost and wanted to protect themselves, then that is the only way that we can make use of our votes.

Making a stand isn’t about putting a cross in a box. It isn’t about making a Facebook status. The vote in itself is symbolic – now the only thing we can control is the depth of our actions. Nothing will change immediately, but the tide is slowly turning towards a potentially sinister path. Let’s see it as a challenge to bring a country divided back together.

Hiran Adhia

I have heard many students suggest that the other side in the debate is stupid, crazy, inbred and isolationist. Students, who were mostly for Remain, have had many days to pick apart the Leavers’ arguments and have done so with gusto. But all that is undone if you resent your opponent for what they are – uneducated, working class and poor.

Before you say that these people had it coming to themselves, consider how many people hailing from the West Midlands that are currently studying at Warwick. I know more people from Eton attending Warwick than I know people from Coventry and Warwickshire doing the same. This cannot possibly be right.

For Warwick is their local university, but it is as far away and aloof as Westminster. And the West Midlands voted for Leave. I admire the engagement from some of our societies, most notably the volunteers service, but we as students have to do a lot more if we are to stand on some kind of pedestal and declare to the people of Coventry that We Know Better.

I admire the engagement from some of our societies

Because if we truly did, we would be able to explain why there are so few Midlanders amongst us. Maybe it’s genetic – that would be convenient. Or maybe they have fewer chances than we do; I haven’t seen EU canvassing in local schools.

Maybe they’re trying to tell us something. They are worried for their future. They have kids to feed and no jobs. Their community is slowly dying. And they are hated by people living in the cities. Now they are threatened for expressing that fear.

In a democracy we have to listen to everyone. If we try to punish people who disagree, or refuse to take them seriously, they will make choices. That is what just happened and now our nation has to live with the consequences.

Johan Byttner

Pushing aside all of the false claims and numbers (all 350 million of them), what emerges out of this referendum is not just an overwhelming sense of Britain’s xenophobia, but the faint, almost metallic taste of irony. The Leave campaign has been fuelled by the demand for democracy. Democracy; for the people, by the people – but not the Scottish or anyone under the age of 29.

The paternalistic, vengeful attitude of voters over the age of 65 has led to a vote for a future for young people that the young people do not want. This is not representation. This is surely not democracy, and this is not autonomy. Brexiters urged a split from the EU on the basis that it would grant the UK the right to self-autonomy once again.

There was the idea of little Britain, unwillingly colonised by the ideals of the tyrannical EU, finally able to declare its Independence Day, which in itself stung of colonial hypocrisy. But this now ‘liberated’ UK sweeps half of its electorate under the carpet and ignores the generation most affected by this vote. Cameron has resigned, and as of October we could be governed by an un-elected Prime Minister.

The paternalistic, vengeful attitude of voters over the age of 65 has led to a vote for a future for young people that the young people do not want

What Leave pushed forward as democracy seems to have resulted in anything but. Leave’s push for a stronger, greater, more stable, more “British Britain” reeks of hypocrisy. What they have received is a Britain torn apart; they have created a divided country.

The rhetoric and vitriol that blames immigrants for tearing the country apart is spouted by the politicians who are doing the tearing. We have not become a stronger, more stable Britain – the pound has just plummeted, and Scotland is now likely to seek an independence referendum. Leave wanted expansion into the commonwealth, but all they’ve created is a divided England and a torn apart union.

This entire debate has been fuelled by false notions of sovereignty, democracy, and the nation. What do we want by democracy? It appears at the moment to be the wishes of half of the union. What do we even mean by the nation? Because at the moment, England appears to be little more than Boris Johnson dangling from a zip wire and 64 million people rocking back and forth muttering “keep calm and carry on”.

Elizabeth Pugsley 

Today is a sad day for our country. Despite the best efforts of the Remain campaign, we have voted to leave the EU. We are now entering into a period of crushing uncertainty, led by politicians who have admitted their lies and deceit and cannot seem to come together for the benefit of the UK.

However, despite the harrowing mess this vote became, and how devastated I was at the result, there was one thing that I was incredibly thankful for – the engagement of young people in politics. This has surged, with social media becoming a useful tool for those under 25 to share their opinions and attempt to debate intelligently with others. The days when young adults would look to their parents for guidance on politics have gone, replaced with a passionate desire to research and understand for themselves.

The EU Referendum has inspired the actions of so many of my friends who never bothered with politics, breeding an insatiable hunger for justice, democracy and accountability. This vote encouraged those who had never voted before to stand up and take responsibility for their future, acknowledging that we cannot afford to leave huge decisions in the hands of our elders.

This vote encouraged those who had never voted before to stand up and take responsibility for their future

In particular, commentators recognised the incredible turnout from students yesterday, with nearly 80% of people with a degree voting Remain. This could be due to the amount of investment and opportunity the EU gives to university students, with the Erasmus program being of particular importance.

The ability to study abroad can make a university experience unique; the EU allows us to move freely, study freely, explore freely. It has allowed us to make new European friends at university, as well as giving UK citizens the chance to learn at the top institutes around the continent. Without the EU’s help, it may be that our chance to broaden our education and learn from other cultures is eradicated.

It therefore seems unsurprising that many student voters decided to vote to stay. Ultimately it was not enough, but we should be proud that it inspired a political awakening among young people. Let’s hope that passion and enthusiasm remains, allowing us to make real change in the future.

Charlotte McGing

As an Indian studying in the UK, I should be ecstatic that Britain has left the EU. The currency is dropping massively as we speak, which means studying here is going to be so much cheaper than it is now. Moreover, the impending doom that hangs over my head after graduation of not getting a job in this country is considerably lessened.

I might actually have a chance at staying in this country longer now. There is even the possibility of the country becoming part of the Schengen Visa which means I can travel anywhere in Europe with a single visa (which is not possible with the current British student visa).

But do I really want to be in a country that voted to leave the EU under false notions perpetuated by racist bigots? Do I want to work in a country that chose to leave because they did not want people from other nationalities within their nation? I am scared. I am scared to come to the realisation that more than half of the population of a country I’ve come to love is xenophobic.

Do I really want to be in a country that voted to leave the EU under false notions perpetuated by racist bigots?

Yes, I might have felt xenophobia subtly on different levels, but this time it is glaringly blatant. We don’t want you or anybody else who is not British in our country. Hence we are retracting one of the most important decisions of our lives.

The simplistic fact that Britain is willing to shake up its economical and financial stability in return for ‘nationalism’ and lower ‘immigration’ is beyond me. Having travelled over 3000 miles to study in a completely foreign country, I think I am well qualified to assert the existence of globalisation and the need to stay united as a whole planet, not a tiny little island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Lakshmi Ajay

When I opened my Facebook newsfeed today, every other post spelled panic. Britain had voted leave. Now as a student, and especially as a EU student, supporting the Leave side is almost a taboo. The Leave side has been constantly associated with xenophobia and racism, with economic uncertainty and despair.

Almost every student I know is worried about their future not only at university, but also in the job market. While I am not an economist (yet), I shall try to highlight a few facts that may prompt every Remain voter to be more optimistic about Britain’s vote.

Economically there are a plethora of issues: the single currency has been a failure to the EU, the EU has double the unemployment rate of Britain and is considerably struggling with deflation, Open Europe calculated the maximum possible loss for the British economy to be 1%.

Now as a student, and especially as a EU student, supporting the Leave side is almost a taboo

Britain is currently losing (due to Bruxelles’ overly complicated bureaucracy) 2,2 bn of possible trades it could negotiate (despite the single market narrative). Moreover UK’s small and medium businesses lose 760 millions of potential profits, a week, due to Bruxelles’ regulations, even when it comes to trading within the same EU.

We need feel assured that we are getting rid of an undemocratic organisation. The European Commission is completely unelected. They are the same EU that said “they don’t have to respond to the will of the citizens” when it came to the TTIP.

I understand the EU is a good idea on a political level to counterbalance nationalistic forces, but this EU is not doing its job. This EU is adopting a monetary policy that is pushing countries to their breaking point. A monetary policy that caused Greece’s AIDS patients to die because of the lack of syringes. An EU whose media never reported the crushed youth of Southern European countries. And finally the same EU whose Germany ruled as “undemocratic” in 1993.

Carola Pagano

A crowing Farage on the news woke me up this morning, and exit polls have shown who to blame for this sight. Seventy-five per cent of voters aged between 18-24 voted to stay in the EU, whilst sixty-six percent of the over-65s voted to leave.

This is an act of arson committed by the most spoilt, lucky, and entitled generation in history: the post-war baby boomers. They enjoyed the fruits of the post war settlement of the NHS, the welfare state, and free education, and then proceeded to privatise it for their pensions. Now, the ability to work and travel freely is in jeopardy, and the economy is reeling.

The successful Leave camp are driven by a sense of incompatibility with the modern world. They are compelled not by facts but by a sense of nostalgia for a world that doesn’t exist, can’t be brought back, and probably never existed in the first place.

This is an act of arson committed by the most spoilt, lucky, and entitled generation in history: the post-war baby boomers

Outside Guildford Railway station on Tuesday the infamous “Leave” campaign bus was sitting, emblazoned in statistical untruths, and promising a complete reallocation of funds to the NHS. I took an ironic selfie with it; it reminded me of a PT Barnum circus attraction, so crude was the showmanship and sleight of hand.

You didn’t need to be the IMF to contradict it – although they did – only a passing acquaintance with the rebate and the CAP would do.

But this was a campaign where leading proponents were able to dismiss expert opinion out of hand. The result is that even areas which rely on EU funding and commerce have voted Out. There must be a lot of pain and frustration out there in the world, for reason and basic self interest to be overridden like this.

Now the votes have been cast and Britain been remade. It is a result of oblivious young people and the delusional elderly. But generally speaking, older people are much more likely to vote than younger people, and as a result Britain today seems very backward looking.

Andrew Armstrong

The EU referendum results are in and though it may not affect me as much because I hold dual nationality with France (who for now is still part of the EU) they still sadden me. Above anger and frustration I feel a crushing sense of disappointment. My identity has always remained blurred between the UK and France, with such a vague sense of nationality I have always found myself identifying as European.

There had always been a comfort in knowing that both countries were part of the EU and as a result transferability was available. An ability to transplant your identity and pick and choose what you can identify with while belonging to an entity that was whole.

Although this may not have to change massively for me, I feel sad for all those young students, who wanted to remain. Be they UK nationals or nationals from other EU countries. Studying in a country you didn’t grow up in was made easier with the knowledge that it still belonged to the same organisation as your home.

An ability to transplant your identity and pick and choose what you can identify with while belonging to an entity that was whole

This overarching sense of unity and community that made shifting between the two so easy has been destroyed. No one knows yet the impact Brexit will have, but this sense of acceptance and home away from home has been altered and damaged irreparably. I used to be proud of being part of such a diverse community, now I’m not so sure what to think.

Zoë Varenne

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Comments (1)

  • Ross Copeland

    So much nonsense from Remain here. This kind of snobbery is largely what alienated so many from the campaign to stay. And the fact that there is no mention of the intellectual and economic reasons for voting to leave (such as those made by Dan Hannan and others) shows that the snobbery and arrogance expressed here isn’t really justified in any sense favourable to the Boar Remain writers.

    Also keep in mind that turnout amongst young voters was ridiculously low.

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