The vast majority of young people in Britain think Brexit is a stupid idea. There is no reason to believe that the generation that starts voting in ten years’ time doesn’t think likewise. Meanwhile, it’s not hard to predict that Europe will be a prominent theme in general elections in the next couple of decades, perhaps longer. The upshot is that the best way to spell doom to your political career is to support Brexit.
British people have long political memories. A significant number of Brits, according to my experience, resent a politician or an entire party for what they did years ago. Now, Brexit would arguably be the single most harmful decision that UK politicians have inflicted on British people in our lifetimes. If there is one thing that today’s young generation will never forget, that is Brexit.
From these rather unproblematic premises follows a logical conclusion that should make our MPs think hard about what they’re doing. Whoever wants to sit in the Parliament in the 2020s and beyond would be ill-advised to support Brexit today. The Brexiteers and the complacents will be forever tainted in the eyes of today’s young voters. Whatever these politicians say in 2025, all that the public hears is the voice of someone who let them down in 2018.
An MP sitting in Parliament today can choose between supporting Brexit and acting in the national interest. Simultaneously, it’s a choice between supporting Brexit and having a political future. Not only conscience, but also self-interest, would tell an MP to support EU membership. I fail to understand why the choice seems so difficult to so many.
Juuso Järviniemi is the President of Young European Movement UK.