Vicky Spratt | Deputy Editor | Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Roamin, Travellin, Learnin: Are Younger People Really Stronger In The EU?

Roamin, Travellin, Learnin: Are Younger People Really Stronger In The EU?

The Debrief: Both sides in the EU referendum are making gimmicky plays for the youth vote. But what young people deserve are facts

Politicians aren’t very good a communicating with younger generations. Why? They don’t really tend to put much effort into the youth vote because turnout has traditionally been relatively low when compared with older people. Put simply: young people don’t vote. Politics is, essentially, about winning elections.

With just over a month to go until the European Referendum the game has begun to change because polls show that if young people turn out to vote they could very well hold the key to this particular decision. Young people are less Eurosceptic than their elders and more likely to vote for Britain to remain in the EU. As a result, both sides, those who want to leave and the StrongerIn campaign, have launched initiatives to try and capture the youth vote.

Neither side seems to have quite nailed this, unfortunately. The Eurosceptics Leave.Eu decided that organising a ‘Brexit gig’ featuring many 90s acts who’ve recently has something of a renaissance would be the best way to win young people’s hearts and minds. Alesha Dixon was scheduled to perform as were 5ive and East 17. The event was announced just yesterday but by this morning Alesha, 5ive and East 17 had all pulled out.

5ive and Alesha Dixon's management told the BBC that they had made the decision after realising the concert was ‘more a political rally’.

Speaking to Newsbeat 5ive's management added, ‘when Rich and Scott agreed to play the event they understood that it was a pop concert funded by one of the Brexit organisations and not a political rally…They would like to make it clear that as a band 5ive have no political allegiances or opinions for either side.’

This is, in fact, the second time that the festival has been rescheduled due to acts pulling out. Sigma pulled out earlier in the year when it was originally intended to take place.

Other than this brainwave the best those who think Britain would be better off outside of the European Union seem to have to offer is fearmongering conjecture and casual xenophobia (particularly their somewhat inaccurate rhetoric regarding Turkey’s membershi, or rather, lack thereof). They keep telling us that if we stay in Europe our country will go to the dogs. Their slogan is ‘Vote Leave, take back control’ and if you listen to them you’d be forgiven for thinking that the four horsemen of the apocalypse were on their way as I type.

StrongerIn have taken a slightly different approach. They’ve gone for a punny video which is a play on their namesake. They talk about the European Union and why we are stronger in it in relation to things young people to do such as ‘ravin’, ‘workin’, ‘learning’, ‘shoppin’, chattin’, ‘roamin’ and ‘sharin’. Yes, they’ve essentially dropped the ‘g’ from all of those verbs in an attempt to emphasise their point. At the end of the video they say ‘life’s better in the EU, but it’s at risk’ and then go on to tell their viewers to make sure they are ‘#votein’.

While their intentions are good and we do need to find a way of communicating with younger generations about the importance of the European Union what’s missing from StrongerIn’s video, aside from that elusive ‘g’ and, if we’re being pedantic, an apostrophe is evidence. Young people deserve proper breakdowns, research and evidence about ‘why life is better in the EU’ so they can assess for themselves whether or not that is the case. Just as it’s wrong for the leave campaigns to make statements which don’t necessarily reflect reality those who want to remain can’t expect to win the youth vote with empty statements and vapid assertions, no matter how much funk house they play in their glossy video.

The Debrief decided to look into a few of the claims their most recent video made to see whether they stand up to a quick fact check courtesy of the BBC.

‘Roamin’

They say: if we do leave the EU then using your phone abroad in Europe will cost more than it does now.

The truth:The EU has brought in regulation which will see all roaming charges for member states abolished from 2017. However, nobody knows whether or not British customers will benefit from this or not if we do leave. That would have to be decided after the vote and it could, in theory, go either way.

‘Travellin’

They say: according to ‘treasury analysis’ going on holiday in Europe will be more expensive if the result of next month’s referendum is that we leave the EU. They’ve calculate that the cost of a four person holiday in Europe will rise by £230.

The truth: if Britain does leave Europe it is possible that the pound will fall and become weaker against the Euro. This could, hypothetically, cause the cost of a holiday to rise. However, it’s tricky to come up with an exact figure for this as the Treasury have done. It would all depend on what kind of deals were done with Brussels after the vote but it looks likely that the cost of flights would go up if we did leave.

'Learnin'

They say: Brexit could threaten the access that British students have to spending a year abroad in European institutions thanks to the Erasmus scheme.

The truth: Two years ago voters in Switzerland voters, concerned about rising immigration, supported a proposal to limit the number of workers coming into the country from the European Union. This effectively abandoned their commitment to free movement of people which is one of the founding principles of the EU.

As a result, Swiss universities were blocked from research projects and denied access to the Erasmus exchange programme. It’s possible that the same would happen to British students but, again, it would depend on the negotiations which took place after the vote.

Conclusion?

As things stand there are a lot of variables. If we do leave negotiations would have to take place between Downing Street and Brussels and there would be no guarantees as to how much things we might currently take for granted would change.

The deadline to register to vote in the Referendum is June 7th. The vote will take place on June 23rd. You can sign up in less than two minutes by following our guide.

You might also be interested in:

European Union: Should We Stay Or Should We Go?

We Asked Young Europeans Living In The UK What They Think About Brexit

Are You Going To Vote In The Eu Referendum?

Follow Vicky on Twitter @Victoria_Spratt

Tags: Politics