Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave a powerful speech to respond to the UK result on the EU referendum. In her ten minute address she covered with compassion, respect and honour on what the result meant for Scotland and for the future of the UK. She reassured those who have fled other lands and made their home in Scotland would be safe and continue to be welcomed. The speech alludes to the universal questions: What does it mean to belong, to be included to be left behind?
When people are left behind, we get Brexit, next it will be Trump. Old white men franchised, and disenfranchised, making decisions for the rest of us. Equity and unity with diversity our the safest routes to justice, peace and democracy. Feeling more committed than ever to do my bit to build a world where no one is left behind after all we only have one home.
The young are being left with decisions made by baby boomers, they are the ones really left behind, they are the real ones who remain. The young Brits voted in droves to stay with the EU with ease of travel, study and opportunities being in the EU has been a passport to be European and look outwards into the future. And now their seniors and non-Londoners have created a future and exposed a divide. Racism and far right movements around the world will be celebrating the Brexit result and will see it as a nod to anti-immigration, closed borders and worse closed minds. In turn independence movements get a boost in the arm with the both left and right look remarkably similar in their desire for political self-determination.
Public trust happens over time through listening and hearing your own voice being valued and understood. Spaces and places for the trust to be brokered, enabled and held are subject to all kinds of scrutiny. (I noticed I wasn’t putting a leaflet into a letterbox to enable voters to be informed about the position of political parties on the issue of asylum seekers, if someone was in the garden. The innocuous space of letterbox did not offer enough anonymity for a less than courageous activist on a wintry Saturday afternoon.)
On line abuse has started on a Justice for Refugees site I am supporting as we head into a Federal election, the anonymity offered by social media is matched with the ease of being able to ban and report abusive language. Keeping those ugly voices at bay, may also head them under ground and come out of the dark web when the votes get counted. Positive campaigning doesn’t seem to work, going negative goes to our basest of human qualities, fear. When we fail the youngest ones ,when they miss out on being literate and numerate, don’t meet their developmental milestones, we are sowing the seeds for the dissatisfaction and disengagement further done the track. Education is an inoculation strategy for fear into the future and of the future.
The generation of young adults who voted to remain in Brexit have had the benefit of looking outward that the generation before them haven’t had, they have the invitation of travel and study abroad at their doorstep. The generational divide means the young have the votes stacked against them. I am in the over 50s age group and when I go to vote I will be thinking of the youngest generation and the ones to come.