Fringe Box



Letter: Our Future Shouldn’t Be Decided By Those Who Won’t Be Here in 50 Years Time

Published on: 21 Jun, 2016
Updated on: 21 Jun, 2016

EU & UK FlagsFrom George Potter

Older voters should listen to the voices of the younger generation in the EU referendum.

I’m 25 and looking forward to voting in the referendum this month. I’ll be proudly voting for Remain which, opinion polls have said, is what 73% of voters aged 18-29 will be doing.

On the other hand, 63% of over 60s are apparently planning to vote Leave.

So this is a plea to older voters. This referendum is not about your future. It’s about the future of my generation and that of our children. That’s why I’d ask you to respect and support our choice and vote for Remain yourselves.

We’ve grown up in a world radically different to the one you grew up in. Our England isn’t a nation in decline from the high water mark of Empire and blighted with rigid hierarchies, class boundaries and civil strife.

emails letterIt’s a dynamic, outward looking and vibrant nation which belongs at the heart of a globalised world. Our worldview has been shaped in very different ways.

For instance, my generation grew up with the internet. Accessing knowledge and talking to people from all corners of the globe is routine to us. We’re used to barriers being broken down, allowing people ever more freedom to live their lives the way they wish.

Why on Earth would we want to blight our futures by putting barriers up around our country through leaving the EU?

Our EU membership costs us each, on average, just £8 a month. In return my generation has access to important rights and an entire continent of opportunities. We have the right to maternity leave, to 20 days paid holidays and protection in the workplace. We can travel freely to study, work, live and make friends wherever we choose across Europe.

Yes that means that people from other countries can move to the UK but we’re not naive enough to think that a decades-old housing crisis and a recession caused by a global financial crisis can be blamed on immigrants from Eastern Europe. Nor are we convinced that leaving the EU will suddenly make immigration stop when its a problem every wealthy country is grappling with.

Besides, if we expect to be able to go to Berlin or Dublin or Copenhagen to study or work then why would we begrudge other people coming here to do the same?

But perhaps more than anything else, we know that the problems facing our generation are global problems. Massive government debt, terrorism, climate change, mass migration and tax dodging by bug business are problems facing the entire western world.

No country is big enough to fix these global problems on its own. So why would we want to leave a club that gives us the collective clout we need to stand up for our common interest?

Why would we want to turn our backs on the co-operation we need to fix these problems?

My generation has lots of things to worry about in our future; government debt, the pressure put on the NHS by an ageing population, terrorism, the unaffordability of home ownership, youth unemployment, climate change and a sluggish economy are just some of those problems. But none of these will be fixed by turning our backs on our neighbours and isolating ourselves from the world.

Besides, the vast majority of those problems are down to us being saddled with the consequences of irresponsible decisions made my governments we were too young to vote for – they’re nothing to do with the EU.

So please, listen to the voices of my generation. This referendum is about our future more than anyone else’s. We’ll have to live with the consequences for the rest of our lives. We overwhelmingly want to stay in the EU and if that’s the choice we want to make for our future then you should support it and allow us to make it.

It would be utterly unfair if our future were to be decided by people who aren’t going to be here in 50 years time to live with the consequences of their decision.

Share This Post

Responses to Letter: Our Future Shouldn’t Be Decided By Those Who Won’t Be Here in 50 Years Time

  1. John Perkins Reply

    June 21, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Might I ask at what age George Potter is intending to bequeath his own vote to a younger person?

    • C Stevens Reply

      June 21, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      I guess it would have to be 30, given an expected life-span of about 80 years for most of us.

      Can I suggest that George tries to bring into his equation some notional value for life experience?

      And can I point out that aged and useless as I am, I’m managing to use this interweb thingy to read what George has to say and to reply. Whod’d have thought it?

  2. Bernard Parke Reply

    June 21, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    True we will not be here in fifty years time, but those of us who were here considerably more than fifty years ago are greatly concerned. We are very aware of the results of European history in the 20th century and we do care for the future of not only of our children but for that of our grandchildren.

    European domination from Brussels is not the answer.

  3. Jim Allen Reply

    June 21, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    How can the young can be so naive?

    Terrorism is not cured by open borders, free travel and open communication across the world.

    Massive debt is not cured by being in an organisation which cannot get a signature on its audited accounts for 18 years or by having a personal credit card in the wallet.

    The irresponsible decisions were actually made by greedy irresponsible younger people who kicked out the over 40’s – those with experience – claiming that the young knew best in the early 1990s.

    George Potter may be 25 but that does not him you the 40+ years of solid experience needed to understand that a three minute egg takes three minutes and not 2.5 minutes and a quart simply does not fit into a pint pot, no matter how many bytes and ascii characters you add to the boiling water. The young should be looking to the old for that experience and advice not throwing away those years of solid experience gained in the pre-computer era.

    Why should we want more clout that’s only needed if you want physical confrontation, we need diplomacy and discretion not dogma and destruction. In the 1950’s and 60’s we were talking to people around the world. In the 1860s letters simply took more time to reach overseas destinations and tempers were cooled first before the instant flights of anger we see today on Facebook and Twitter.

    George Potter should take heed of the older fellows advice. They’ve been there, done that, and know the consequences. Youngsters who fail to acknowledge old heads know more are on a sure route to a place they simply don’t want to be.

  4. George Potter Reply

    June 21, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    To reply to John Perkins, if there is another referendum in my lifetime which is going to have long lasting effects for future generations and I am old enough that I will not be affected by the outcome then I will vote for the outcome which the majority of younger people are voting for on the basis that they were the ones who’d have to live with the outcome.

  5. John Lomas Reply

    June 21, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    By the time George Potter reaches 50 the whole of whatever remains of the United States of Europe will have gone the way of the Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

  6. Paul Handley Reply

    June 21, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Years of experience and awareness of European history in the 20th century lead me to a very different conclusion from that implied by Mr Parke.

    I too share his concerns and care for the future. European domination from Brussels may not be the answer to the problems raised by George Potter, but European co-operation within the EU seems to me to offer a far better chance for solutions than going it alone.

  7. Anne Young Reply

    June 21, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion – whatever age they are. This is not a decision determined by age. At my college a ballot carried out had only three votes difference between Leave and Remain.

    And what has 50 years time got to do with it anyway? This vote is for our future from now.

  8. Roland McKinney Reply

    June 22, 2016 at 9:41 am

    I won’t be here in 50 years time, and fortunately I have the freedom to vote according to my conscience, so I will be voting to correct a mistake I made about 41 years ago.

    Being shackled to a sinking ship will not provide much of a future for anyone.

  9. John Armstrong Reply

    June 22, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    By that logic no-one over 25 should be allowed to vote.

  10. Roslyn McMillan Reply

    June 22, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    George Potter makes valid points but I’m afraid he won’t be heard by those who look back to a pre-globalisation period as if it could be restored by isolationism. The EU is far from perfect but we are part of Europe and should vote to remain part of the Union, striving to help shape its future course as we have done since joining it.

  11. Ben Paton Reply

    June 23, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    What a mean and circumscribed view of human life. Mr Potter appears to consider that a human life is a ‘wasting asset’ which depreciates over time. Once its ‘useful life’ has diminished past a certain point it is no longer worth retaining and can be scrapped – like a worn out ‘unit of production’.

    Some of us have a nobler view of the human spirit and consider that the last ten minutes of someone’s life is as valuable as the first. Human potential does not diminish with age. Winston Churchill was 65 years old in 1939. Mr Potter however would have deprived him of his right to vote.

    The infrastructure and superstructure of society has taken hundreds if not thousands of years to develop. On an historical perspective 50 years is not very long. But callow revolutionaries always like to pretend that history does not exist and that their opinions are not subject to its constraints – just as in the French and Russian Revolutions when they re-set the calendar to zero.

    I’d rather be governed by someone who thought that his actions made ripples through eternity than by someone who felt that his own generation’s imperatives take priority over everything else.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *