Based on the various statements that have so far emerged from the contenders to be our next Prime Minister, none has yet shown a willingness to respond to the concerns by young people over the vote we all took 10 days ago. The fact that attention has been paid to Scotland and Northern Ireland where residents voted to remain, is to be welcomed, but the margin by which they voted to remain is still some way behind the margin by which electors aged 18-24 voted for the status quo. Some 75% of these young adults voted to stay members of the EU. In addition to these young people, there are those who were not able to vote because of the decision taken by Parliament to deny 16 and 17 year olds from participating. On Friday I spent a lovely evening at a party of a friend of our family, she is turning 18 this week. She is deeply upset that the vote took place two weeks before she was eligible to vote.
The average age of Conservative Party membership and of Conservative MPs is well North of the age of the candidates themselves (Theresa May is the elder statesperson among them, turning 60 later this year). It is therefore unlikely that these potentially powerful people will focus greatly on the views and concerns of young people in their contest. However the need to focus on young people is essential if their role as Prime Minister is to bring the unity needed into our nation as we come to terms with what Boris Johnson has so uniquely compared to the mourning after the death of Princess Diana. Six National youth organisations have pooled their thinking and pointed out that the vote to leave the EU will “inevitably impact the lives of young people and the youth sector” but urged young people to take the “dramatic shift” as an invitation to get more involved in decision-making processes. “This is the time for the next generation to shape the future of the UK,” the statement reads. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for young people on all sides of the debate to start painting a picture of the country they want the UK to become. “We are calling on politicians and policymakers to fully and meaningfully engage young people at every level of their discussions over the next few months to ensure their views are heard and acted upon.