Wednesday 5th August 2020

The buffoonery taking place in the House of Commons this week convinces me that it is time for our nation’s 18-year-olds to rise up and storm Parliament.

I mean, seriously, scenes involving Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay speaking in favour of a motion one minute – indeed, wrapping up a whole debate about it with his argument – and then voting against it the next, just sum it all up really.

Young people in this country have good reason to be royally cheesed off with their elders. Not only have the older generations made a proper balls-up of Brexit, they have shafted the young by burning the house down and slamming the fire escape shut behind them.

Young people have been handed the rough end of the stick. They can’t afford houses because their elders have bought them all up and will only pass them on for extortionate prices (or rent them out expensively, while fleecing the taxpayer for housing benefit, but that’s another story).

Young people don’t get the free university education their parents and grandparents benefited from, they can very likely kiss goodbye to state pensions while the current lot enjoy the triple lock and, soon, they can look forward to the waning of free medical care as well as being lumped with the job of cleaning up the planet their forebears have polluted. I’m just surprised they don’t seem more pissed off than they do.

Apparently Millennials can’t afford a house deposit because they spend too much on crushed avocadoes. Such hilarity.

To add insult to injury, they get pilloried as well. Apparently the reason Millennials can’t afford a house deposit is that they spend too much money on crushed avocadoes and frothy macchiatos. Such hilarity. The fact it would take 23,000 years to save a deposit from making such paltry savings is neither here nor there.

Meanwhile, the gap between rich and poor is getting wider. The Spring Statement this week prompted figures from the think tank, Resolution Foundation, which measures income inequality, showing that while the poorest fifth of society will be £100 a year worse off as a result of Government measures, the richest fifth can look forward to a £280 windfall. I struggle to believe many 18-year-olds belong in the latter camp.

Part of the reason for this is that the Chancellor maintained the benefits freeze this week, while simultaneously providing for a £26 billion Brexit war chest.

Most young people don’t even want Brexit. Recent polls by Survation show that 82% of 18-to-24-year olds favour remaining in the EU, yet they are being ceremoniously stripped of their EU citizenship – the thing that would protect their workers’ rights and might enable them to head off to pastures new if they so desire.

If they do stick around, they can look forward to manufacturers such as Nissan moving out and longer NHS waiting times as many of its EU workers also ship out. That’s not to mention the interruptions to the supplies of medication, including cancer drugs, as warned about by the Royal College of Radiologists this month.

Four out of every five 18-to-24-year olds favour remaining in the EU – yet they are being stripped of their EU citizenship

It’s pretty unfair, given that large numbers of them didn’t have the opportunity to cast a vote on any of this in 2016.

It’s not just the younger generations who see it this way. Grannies Against Brexit is a stalwart group which campaigns precisely because of these issues – and that we are leaving an almighty mess for youngsters to clean up.

My marvellous, 81-year-old father in law believes fervently that no-one over the age of 70 should have a vote on Brexit at all. He never shuts up about it.

And you can see his point. For one thing, there are now around two million more young people entitled to vote, who were not in 2016. Meanwhile, lots of leave voters have since died.

YouGov research late last year found that demographic changes mean that the number of remain voters is increasing by 235,000 each year, while the number of leave voters falls by 260,000.

I was delighted to see the news this week that the teenage Swedish political activist, Greta Thunberg, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was the first to lead striking schoolkids to the doors of politicians in protest at climate change.

Our own youngsters just got told off for leaving a mess on the grass outside Parliament when they did it.

So, the time has come, folks, for all the 18-year-olds in the country to rise up and stage a coup. If this week’s shambles in the House of Commons have proved anything, it is that our leaders are not fit to lead. Let’s let the kids have a go – they couldn’t make it any worse.


Nina Montagu-Smith
Nina Montagu-Smith

Journalist specialising in Money, business, economics and communications. Remoaner, big time. Saboteur-in-chief.

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