We’ve had a Tory party problem foisted on the people of Britain, stirred with a degree of racism and fear from those who are not benefitting from globalisation.  I don’t think good leadership would have got us into this position in the first place but we are where we are.

Over the last few years I've observed the shift in British and global politics from left to right, from internationalist to nationalist. Those whose skills and upbringing have given them the opportunity to thrive in a global world where creativity, brainpower and flexibility are rewarded sit on one side. On the other are those who have lost out in this new world; those who value traditional British culture and skilled manual labour communities (including those in our city of Bristol) who have suffered from closure of major industries. 

I understand there are those who do not feel comfortable in this emerging world.  The trouble is the EU debate became a proxy for so many of these issues, fears and deeply held values on both sides.  Whilst the EU has serious and some might say fundamental flaws, its primary purpose has been to overcome the things that divide us.  Starting with the peace that has settled over most of the continent after the Second World War, trade across borders which helps us all to understand each other and trying to deal with the current migrant crises are all EU successes that have brought people together.  Even if they have sometimes been messy there is a vision for a better world where we work with each other and for each other. 

I fear however, that many of the Brexit voters are the ones who will suffer most if the expert opinions about the economy come true.  The EU has championed workers’ rights, youth involvement and economic growth.  Unemployment is thankfully low at the moment despite the ‘tidal wave of immigration’, maternity and paternity leave is growing, the living wage is coming and young people are more involved in decision making than ever before.  These are things that will benefit the most disadvantaged in our society. 

Interestingly, young people see this.  They voted much more heavily for remain because they understand globalisation can’t be turned back.  Integration in schools and youth clubs is high, young people are being taught new skills and personal qualities that should see them thrive in the emerging global economy.  But we have shrunk away from this and fundamentally betrayed the next generation.  Baby boomers have voted to withdraw from the new world at the expense of the generation that will inherit it from them.  Young people are comfortable with the new world but will now have to work harder to be a part of it.

We won’t see dramatic changes straight away but I fear young people in the coming years may travel a little less, have fewer opportunities to find work and have a little less understanding of other cultures.  I fear this will diminish the UK and our place in the world. It is up to all of us, including Creative Youth Network, to encourage young people to explore the world around them, whether that be Easton, Weston, Barcelona or Bucharest and continue to build the skills they need to thrive in a globalised world.   

Poll sources: The IndependentYouGov