An alarming report has found an estimated 800,000 people have dropped off the Electoral Roll since the government introduced changes to the voting registration system.
With nearly half a million young people not currently registered to vote, students in university towns are even more unlikely to vote than young people living at home, with students living in university towns – including York, Cambridge and Dundee – being among the worst affected by the changes.
With many young people not interested in the upcoming In/Out EU referendum at the moment, and others being spun misinformation from the In campaign, the lack of interest in the most important vote in a generation is a sad reality.
Many simply do not understand what is at stake. They do not realise the benefits of leaving the EU — nor do they realise the gloomy outlook for our future should the Great British public decide to Remain.
This isn’t their fault though. Many admit to not knowing enough about the EU to make an informed decision. This is partly due to the myths they are constantly inundated with from those on the pro-EU side, as well as the minimal so-called ‘deal’ the Prime Minister has been trumpeting as a success for Britain.
Young people at university are told time and time again if we vote to Leave the European Union, travelling the world will become a lot harder. This is ridiculous! Leaving the EU does not mean the end of the free movement of students, nor does it mean they won’t be able to travel to Thailand, Australia and the USA – places which are all Gap Year favourites for young Brits. None of those countries are inside the EU, yet thousands travel to these destinations to work, study and holiday every year.
Young people seem to be afraid of voting to Leave – they are told if we do come out of the EU we will be fenced inside the borders of the UK under lock and key – it would have to be a pretty long fence to go all around our coastlines…
This is just laughable and plain scaremongering – it’s simply not true.
Young people care about their education – this is why the In campaign continues to falsely claim our current educational standards would be under threat should we come out of the EU.
One of the most over-used myths is that British students would not be eligible for the Erasmus Scheme if we Leave the EU. This is complete rubbish. For those who do not know what the Erasmus Scheme is, it offers students at university a fantastic chance to study abroad.
However, young people are not told the Erasmus programme does not require EU membership! Erasmus+ is not limited to just EU States, or even just to the European Economic Area. The programme covers over 30 countries, including Macedonia and Lichtenstein, and has partnerships with many others such as Russia.
In fact its website states: “nearly every country in the world” is able to participate; EU and non-EU countries.
Continuing along the same theme, young people are also told if Britain votes to Leave the EU, we will risk losing over £1 billion worth of funding for Britain’s universities. Again, rubbish. They are not told this funding comes through the Horizon 2020 scheme – a scheme which also provides university funding to Iceland, Norway, Turkey and Israel – ie not because of our EU membership.
Some young people have already registered to vote in the upcoming EU referendum – and may vote either way. However, it is important they know the facts – not simply rumours. It might be useful for them to check out our website’s Myths and Truths page.
Many of those who are not yet registered to vote, may also not understand the true benefits of pulling out of the European Union. They may only read the previously mentioned myths and some of the outright lies.
The EU costs Britain around £20 billion a year, and that’s not including red-tape legislation which damages the prospects of many small businesses in the UK. They may not understand only 5 per cent of British businesses trade with the EU, but all of these businesses must adhere to all the Directives and legislation emanating from Brussels – most of which are put in place for the advantage of this very small percentage of big business.
It is important voters understand if we Leave the EU, the British government will have more money to actually fund education itself, as well as many other public services, help for farmers and fishermen – and more – it will be our choice, not the EU’s. Services such as the NHS – which young people up and down the United Kingdom still need and admire.
Young Britons cannot be blamed for not knowing these facts. EU-biased school text books – some for students as young as 5 – have been found in British schools. The fact is, whether we like it or not, young people are just not angry enough about the EU, mostly because they are, as yet, misled and misinformed. They may sit silently whilst the debate is carried on over their heads.
This should not happen.
If you go into mainland Europe you will see many young Eurosceptics, especially on the left of the political spectrum – after all, some young people like to be anti-government! In fact, there have even been anti-EU demonstrations and student ‘sit-ins’ all over Europe, most recently with Les Miserable-style ‘freedom’ chants in Brussels, yet this is still to catch on over here in the UK.
In Britain, many young people on the left are anti-government, but strangely not anti-EU. The EU is yet to be understood as an over-imposing force controlling nearly every aspect of our lives.
This view of the EU needs to change – and quickly. Young people must be informed about some of the bizarre legislation being forced into their lives by posh-suit-wearing Eurocrats in Brussels.
The good news is – a change seems to be happening. Anti-EU student campaigns in universities are setting up across the UK. In a recent poll, 21 per cent of 18-24 year olds said they could still be persuaded to vote to Leave the EU, the highest percentage of all the age ranges.
A further 10 per cent said they are more likely to vote to Remain – but again they could still change their minds. This is a huge 31 per cent of all young people who may still vote to Leave the EU. Add these to the 18 per cent who already plan to vote to Leave and there is clear potential for a possible majority in this age range who might vote for Brexit.
13 per cent of young people still openly admit to not having any idea which way they are going to vote!
Young Britons are not as pro-EU as you might expect – but they simply haven’t had enough information to understand what it’s all about yet to make this vital decision about their future and the future of the United Kingdom. This is clearly shown by the statistics from the poll. If we are to win this important referendum, it is vital all voters are made aware of all the facts. Young people could be the key to victory – and to ensuring we Get Britain Out of the EU.