It is remarkable to be writing on behalf of the Students For Brexit team; it has been less than a month since we founded Students For Brexit and since launching in mid-January, our campaign has been going from strength to strength.
When I initially thought about creating a cross-party platform for young Leavers, never in my wildest imagination could I have anticipated the amount of support that we would receive so soon after launching the project.
The seeds of Students For Brexit were sown following a university debate: a student audience – when anonymously polled – voted 42% in favour of Brexit, yet when I asked the 42% to raise their hands, hardly anyone proceeded to do so.
That’s when it hit me that pro-Brexit students were either embarrassed, or fearful to admit that they supported Brexit.
This apparent shyness of young Leavers deeply concerned me. With the mobilisation of Remain groups pushing for a second referendum, it was obvious to me that unless young Leavers were galvanised into action, then our opportunity to secure an open and international UK would slip away from our grasp, right into the hands of those who wish to subvert democracy.
So that’s when I had the idea for Students For Brexit: a campaign that would not only aim to create a supportive cross-party community for young Leavers and re-Leavers to network and build friendships, but also to create campaign groups in universities across the UK that would host a range of events from talks and socials to street stalls and petitions as part of our #GlobalFuture initiative – our positive campaign to secure an open, international and truly global UK following Brexit.
Whilst we knew that a platform for young Leavers had been desperately needed for some time, it would be a lie to say that we were not surprised by the dramatic surge in support following our inception.
Within a day of launching we were bombarded with hundreds of subscribers, supportive messages, blog submissions and emails from people desperately asking how they could get involved.
Within the first 12 hours of launching we had gained over one thousand followers on Twitter – remarkable stuff for something that was thought up by a group of students in their university bedrooms.
Whilst we were in awe at the astonishing support, reality quickly hit home that our campaign was quickly transforming into something far greater than anyone had ever envisaged. Being a student-run campaign, we did not have the resources, or time, to keep up with the sky-rocketing support. Luckily, despite common belief, there is little shortage of young Leavers, so we started to decentralise our campaign to voluntary university coordinators who would more effectively take our positive Brexit message onto campuses across the UK.
Our message is simple: we, as young Leavers, are tired of the narrative that all young people support remaining locked into the EU. An economic union with youth unemployment rates as high as 43.3% is no place for a bold and ambitious economy like the UK; the idea that young people would be better off within the EU is just an absurdity.
Our slogan “standing up for our global future” perfectly captures the motivation behind our campaign. We believe that the UK should be a truly international and outward-looking country after Brexit, not a country that has turned its back on our allies and simply sets its sights no further than the outer borders of Europe.
Despite much support, our campaign has not gone without criticism. The most common being that we are “late to the party”. I profoundly disagree; whilst we are set to leave the EU on 29th March, nothing is certain in politics anymore. Furthermore, whilst Students For Brexit has an important campaigning function until Brexit, I do not believe that the debates around Brexit will just cease on the day that we eventually leave.
Remain campaigners will continue to seek to hold us suffocatingly close to the EU. This platform will be needed to continue to stand up for the arguments that secured Brexit, provide support for pro-Brexit students and speak on behalf of millions of young Leavers who have been too often claimed as the possession of the “People’s Vote”.
Brexit will affect my generation the most, therefore, young Leavers must have their rightful place in the forefront of national debate – our voice must be heard. The young generation of today will become the older generation of tomorrow. Ultimately, Brexit gives us the precious opportunity to change the direction of our country forever. The choice is clear: do we stand up for to an open, ambitious international future which Brexit will deliver? Or do we choose to stand back and allow anti-democrats to overturn the 2016 referendum and keep us shackled to a failing political project?
It is now the responsibility of young Leavers up and down the country to stand up, not just for our bright global future post-Brexit, but to defend the very essence of democracy in the UK for generations to come.
The Remain campaign are mobilising to water down Brexit, or even subvert democracy altogether by holding a second referendum. It is now incumbent on ourselves as young Leavers to mobilise too, and be ready to take the positive, global vision of an open, international post-Brexit Britain throughout universities across the country.
Stand up for your global future by getting involved today at studentsforbrexit.com.
The post Thousands have been signing up to Students For Brexit in the weeks since its launch appeared first on BrexitCentral.