Parents of so-called ‘Brexit babies’ – born around the time of the 2016 EU referendum – have shared their fears about their future, and begged politicians to prioritise their urgent needs.
Vickie Reuben, whose son Ronnie was born in June 2016, lamented the huge sums of money spent on Brexit that could have helped fund our health service, while another mother was shocked at how limited children’s services and activities have become compared to 2016, and the lack of support offered to vulnerable new mothers.
There was a deep-rooted anxiety that Brexit would destroy both opportunities they had enjoyed growing up, and future career prospects due to severing trade relationships: “My question to politicians is: How can you promise me Ronnie’s future is going to be better outside Europe than the life I have led?”
Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts echoed these concerns, and called on politicians in Westminster to regain focus on domestic challenges: “Mumsnet users talk a lot about long-term issues including affordable housing, climate change, childcare, care in older age, and planning for 21st century jobs; they see the impacts of political stasis on their own families and in their communities.
“Our users hail from across the political spectrum and Brexit is divisive, but they are pretty united in wanting politicians to focus on solving the big problems so that everyone has a shot at health and happiness.”
All the parents were particularly fearful of the kind of Britain their child would grow up in, pointing to the rise of Islamophobia, anti-semitism and the far-right. In a climate where the man predicted to be the next prime minister compared veiled Muslim women to “letterboxes”, Tasneem Abdur-Rashid, whose son Yousef is half Syrian and half Bengali, said she was “terrified”.
“Brexit has increased Islamophobia in the UK. It’s made us scared of how much longer we’ll be able to call Britain home” Tasneem said, while Vickie also said she feared for her Jewish son due to the rise of the far-right since the Brexit vote.
The parents were talking to anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain ahead of the anniversary of the third EU referendum.
The campaigners point out that despite the worries of these parents had, the arguments surrounding Brexit threaten to continue for years to come.
The group’s boss Naomi Smith said it only requires one move to change the fortunes for these children.
She said: “These children have been completely ignored by the political establishment. The things that matter to them and their future have been shoved under a rug while Brexit has dominated the headlines.
“Brexit, if we attempt to go ahead with it, will take years and years to resolve, maybe even decades. We cannot allow the Brexit albatross to hang around these kids’ necks indefinitely. It could hurt their education, job prospects and health.
“To stay in the EU we only need to do one thing – revoke Article 50. With the country already having shifted to remain, we need a final say to give the people what they want.”
Tulip Siddiq MP, who is also a mother of two ‘Brexit babies’, added: “We cannot allow Brexit to continue to eschew our priorities. We should be fighting tooth and nail for a better future for our children, not endlessly pursuing a vision of Britain that young people don’t share anyway.”