Suli Breaks on disbelief and disillusionment for young Remain voters
PUBLISHED: 16:55 18 July 2016 | UPDATED: 13:17 21 July 2016
Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
I am 28, but this referendum was only the second time in my life I have voted. Before that, I had done it once in a general election, but only because I happened to be at home when my uncle was going to the polling station, and he persuaded me to join him.
I suppose I have been a typical young person, disillusioned with politicians, not interested in their system.
I just never saw the point of voting. It was not something I associated with change. This time was different though.
At the beginning of the referendum campaign, I thought it would be the usual back and forth between MPs – a clash of egos.
But I came to realise the implications of this decision were so relevant to my – and others’ – lives, not just on an economic or financial scale, but simply from a humanitarian perspective. It seems such a backwards step to want to detach from Europe.
For me, it is not a question of whether young people feel British or European. Personally, I relate first to my African heritage. So even though I have always lived here, my heritage will always be West African. The biggest spur for me to vote was the immigration issue.
My grandparents were migrants to this country and I felt it was disrespectful to them to vote in favour of restricting that movement. By coming here, they created every opportunity I have ever had. I did not want to deny that to others.
That said, I can understand why some feel very differently on this issue. I lived in Middlesbrough for a year and have travelled around the UK a lot. I understand about the dynamics and the tensions which led people to vote Leave. I get the rationale behind that, even if I don’t agree with it.
People are losing their jobs, losing their industries. They have worries about immigration.
But I think a lot of Londoners, a lot of my peers, do not really understand that. They don’t know just how disconnected Britain has become. You could see it in the television debates.
Just because everyone you know on Facebook shares your views, does not mean those are the dominant views everywhere else. It is ignorant to think everyone thinks like you.
That is why I started to tell people who haven’t lived outside London, that the mentality elsewhere was very different, and that they had to make their views count.
I got involved in a campaign to encourage young people to register to vote. What we really wanted to do was to try to mobilise people, not persuade them which way to vote.
I guess a lot of them did get involved and vote. But a lot did not make the effort and I am annoyed with many of my peers.
I know a lot of people who did not bother to vote, but are now angry at the result and are signing petitions on social media attacking the result.
There is a lot of ego-stroking out there.
So I have been disappointed with many of my peers, but also with the politicians.
Throughout the campaigns, they were not gauging the effectiveness of the ideas they were all spouting. It was all about argument, playing on people’s fears and impulses, and seeing who could get the best line.
That is why we still don’t know the implications of the result. This uncertainty we all now feel is a failure of the campaign.
Now, it is up to the politicians to make this work. There is just so much noise it is hard to see what is going to happen next.
I am following all these events, but until I can see a bit more clearly what is really happening, it is hard to make a stand.
To a degree, I am back to being disillusioned.
Suli Breaks is a spoken word artist who has more than 300,000 subscribers to his youtube channel sulibreezy