Being a young person amidst a time of political turmoil is tough. We feel alienated, excluded from the governmental bubble, with little explanation being sent our way. With breaking news about the controversial topic, being publicised in bucketloads, I began to question, how much do the young people in our community really know about Brexit? In an attempt to quench my thirst for answers, students from St Andrew’s and St Bride’s ranging from first year to sixth year were given surveys to test their knowledge of our nation’s current political status and, more often than not, the lack of understanding was apparent.
Although around 80% of candidates understood the meaning of Brexit, their knowledge didn’t extend much further as over half, 60%, of students weren’t aware of the date that Brexit is being planned to take place- the 31st of October 2019. Candidates were also often unaware of the consequences that leaving the European Union could have on the United Kingdom, and a quarter of students didn’t think that Brexit would have a direct effect on them. Leaving the EU could result in more expensive foreign holidays, no progression in the immigration status, higher price inflation and the possibility of a recession. However, there are some argued positives to exiting the European Union, such as: cost saving for the country, increased trading opportunities for Britain, and a prevention of immigration. These pros and cons are important for the teens of our community to understand as Brexit, and its effects, will have a personal impact on the futures of the young people of this generation.
The survey also allowed pupils to express their opinions on Brexit as they were asked what they would have voted if they had been granted the opportunity to vote in the referendum. While the majority of the students expressed that they would have decided to stay in the EU as they believe things will take a turn for the worse, that the UK is in safer hands whilst being a part of the EU, that the economy is further boosted while being a part of the European Union and because they believe that another referendum might arise. However, 1 in 5 students indicated that they would have voted leave in the referendum as they believe the NHS will improve and that the UK will thrive as an independent cluster of countries.
My opinion after witnessing the results of the survey? I believe educating young people about politics that will affect their future should be prioritised more in schools, as few students truly understood the meaning, and impacts that these major turns of events could really have on them. I also believe that teens should be more encouraged to speak out and express their political opinions as it can help them to become more knowledgeable and opening to listening to other viewpoints. In today’s world, it is important to be politically aware as huge steps are being made towards an independent Britain and Scotland, which will hugely affect the lives of us teens.
By Lizzy Cochrane, Team Reporter