Liberal Democrat Group Leader on Reading Borough Council, Councillor Ricky Duveen writes…
“Last weekend I went to the Lib Dems Spring Conference. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of new members attending and especially by the number of new young members making their voice heard in the various debates. But what really caught my imagination was the overwhelming feeling expressed by younger members that the referendum last June was not the last word in the Europe debate.
The overwhelming number of teenagers voted for Remain whereas the older generations voted in large numbers to leave. The younger generation (and especially the 16-18 year olds) were dismayed at not having their voices heard at all as no one under 18 was allowed to vote in the referendum. Again and again Young Liberals made the point that the older generations had robbed them of the right to live in an open, outward-looking society and had instead tried to build walls around Britain, pull up the drawbridge and retain an insular mentality.
The demographics of the referendum indicate that the wafer thin majority for Leave will very soon disappear as the younger generation comes of age, and especially if the age of voting is lowered to 16. They will reverse the outcome of last June.
Today’s youth will not give up on Europe and they give us all hope for a brighter future inside Europe, not from behind walls and barbed wire but as a fully fledged member of a progressive European Union. The brighter ones are already joining the Liberal Democrats and many more are ready to support our unashamedly pro-European stance.
The future lies in partnership with our European neighbours not in ‘Little England’.”