Students speak out at Back to School Pulse of Europe

Local students Katies Breeds and Alex Jensen spoke at the Pulse of Europe. Photo © Miles Martin.

‘Back to School’ was the theme of September’s Pulse of Europe, the monthly rally organised by Bath for Europe, on Sunday 2ndSeptember.

With a focus on education, opportunities and research, young people were invited to address the crowd about the impact Brexit could have on them and their future. Local students Lucy, Alex Jensen and Katie Breeds spoke about lost opportunities: many young people were not old enough to vote but now have to stand by and see their future snatched away.

It’s up to young people to secure a great future for the UK

As Lucy said, “I’m 15 years old. I was too young to vote in the referendum and I will also be too young to vote in the People’s Vote even if 16- and 17-year-olds can but that doesn’t mean I can’t have my say on Brexit. Straight after the referendum I knew the situation wasn’t great, but I assumed it wasn’t a big deal. It would sort itself out after a few years, and life would go back to normal.”

“But as time passed I can see that it isn’t being sorted. It’s getting worse. It’s horrible being 15 and listening to these ‘grown ups’ deciding my future for me. And I never hear young people being discussed. It’s always ‘global Britain’ – whatever that is. They never talk about the great opportunities for young people with Brexit. Maybe that’s because there aren’t any. They instead are taking away the right I was born with to live, study and work in 27 other EU countries. I’ve been helping out on street stalls with Bath for Europe for several months now and it has been really interesting talking to Leavers and Remainers who have helped my shape my views, too. My message to everyone is, if you want this country to have a great future, it will be the younger generations like my own who will create it. And we want to do it as a member of the EU.”

Alex Jensen said, “The vast majority of students were born with European citizenship rights, myself included. Indeed, I am going to be taking advantage of some of the amazing opportunities offered when in a few weeks I start my Masters course in Germany but I am lucky to be able to seize this chance while it is still here. If Brexit goes ahead, future generations will learn of how citizens of our great nation once held unfettered access to the world’s biggest economic and scientific bloc. A union of almost thirty nations diverse and rich in culture, tradition and potential to shape the future. Future generations will learn of the referendum campaign in which Vote Leave broke the law multiple times and promised a vision of Brexit no doubt proven to be contradictory and undeliverable.”

On the march through Bath. Photo © Miles Martin.

Call to action 

“Brexit is not something this country’s youth voted for, in fact of the 18 – 24-year-olds who voted in the EU referendum, three quarters voted to Remain. But that doesn’t change the fact that overall turnout amongst young voters was incredibly low. It doesn’t have to be this way. As Britain hurtles towards a disastrous break from our closest friends and allies, the youth of this country should seek to take back control of their futures and make sure we are listened to. Join a political party when canvassing, take part in street stalls and events organised by groups like Bath for Europe, the Young European Movement and Our Future Our Choice. Join or form debating societies at your school or university. Make sure your friends are registered to vote! These simple actions can and will make the difference. Don’t you dare let anyone tell you that you’re too naïve, too silly or inexperienced to have a say. It is your future and it’s one that without your input, far too many politicians are willing to sacrifice on the altar of Brexit.

“We will not accept our rights, our economic wellbeing, our standing in the world being traded for… for what exactly? Is it not telling that when asked when Brexit would pay off, Jacob Rees-Mogg tells us it might take half a century? By which point Boris Johnson will probably still be trying to become prime minister. Nigel Farage now says he never promised it would be a success. History won’t forget the actions of these conmen. It’s not good enough for Bath, it’s not good enough for Britain and it’s certainly not good enough for the future generations who didn’t get to decide.”

Bad boys of Brexit

Masters Rees-Mogg and Johnson get a reprimand for making an ‘Eton Mess’ of Brexit. Photo © Matthew Perks.

Head teacher Mrs May gave naughty schoolboys Rees-Mogg and Johnson a real reprimand for being useless and obstructive in an entertaining piece of street theatre, aptly titled ‘Eton Mess’.

The event ended with a colourful, noisy march with banners, flags and chants for a People’s Vote on the final deal, led by drummer Steve Rouse through the streets of Bath.

With Parliament back in session and Brexit top of the agenda, Bath for Europe are stepping up our campaigning activities and have a range of events in store, including a talk by the Rt. Hon Dominic Grieve on 20th September at Hayesfield School. We are also organising coaches to the Tory Party conference and to the People’s Vote ‘March for the Future’ in London on October 20th which is predicted to surpass the more than 100,000 peaceful protesters who marched in June.