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Brexit thoughts from a Slovenian

Samo looks at the different factors that contributed to the Brexit result

Written by Samo Šmajgl and posted in news

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"In Slovenia... we have a retirees’ party that only cares about pensions and they are the third biggest party in parliament."

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A few days after Brexit I met with a friend I hadn’t seen for a while. The topic of Brexit was inevitable. One of the Facebook wall spams all my friends shared so enthusiastically, about old people screwing the young by voting out, came up. She suggested that people after certain age, let’s say 65, shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

She might be right that the people, still remembering the good old days of the Empire, shouldn’t be allowed to decide on the issues that won’t affect them. They will be long gone before Britain even decides to exit, was the argument. I agree, considering the situation in Slovenia where we have a retirees’ party that only cares about pensions and they are the third biggest party in parliament.

But for me there was another piece of data that was more interesting, people on Facebook often omitted: the proportion of young versus old voters. One could argue that is more the case of young people not going to vote, than old people voting out. Young people don’t care, would be the main answer to why. Not that they do not care; they feel disenfranchised, disconnected. They have a feeling their voices do not matter, so they refuse to go. And the old people from the South and Wales? They perhaps have the same feelings of being left alone and disregarded. But they had a different tactic. They showed their displeasure with voting out, even if they did not know exactly what they were voting against. They stuck it to the man.

Whose fault is it? Are we to blame Cameron for his re-election tactics that backfired or Nigel and company for blatant lies and feeding people with fear?

I think the most blame goes to the EU. Just now, after the accusations that won Brexit, of EU lowering the sovereignty of Britain, the EU is trying to pass CETA and TTIP without member states’ consent. Two agreements that would put EU members at a disadvantage compared to multinational companies. Moreover Barroso, former president of EU Commission, just took a job with Goldman Sachs, the bank that bears a lot of responsibility for the latest economic crisis. It is clear that the EU is mainly here to make money and that people are not its main priority. If the EU was more of a social than economic project, people would see it in a more kind regard. And then maybe they wouldn’t be disappointed and listen to populists with all the wrong reasons and no solution.

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Published July 19th, 2016
Tags eu hub european union brexit
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