Brexit: Unfair to the Young?

Perhaps votes should be weighted. Intelligent people’s votes should count more than idiots’. That would make my vote worth fifty times more than, say, Nigel Farage’s. Of course I can’t say anything so élitist; nor do I really believe it. The highly educated – and that’s the only practical way we have of measuring ‘intelligence’ – can be as wrong as the simpleton; wronger, if he or she is a post-modernist. (Joke.)

In the particular case of Britain’s EU referendum, however, there must be a case for saying that voters should have been weighted according to the number of years they could be expected to live under whatever form of government the result of the plebiscite established. Apparently a larger proportion of young people voted to ‘Remain’ than of those in my age-group. They’re used to living with people of different national origins, and as a result are far more relaxed about ‘immigration’ and ‘foreigners’. We oldies are still affected by prejudices from and fond myths about our monocultural and even imperial past, and so were over-represented among the Brexiteers. Yet we’ve only got a few years left to experience the consequences of the ‘people’s vote’ last June: five or so years in my case, if I’m lucky. The young have a whole lifetime of living in an isolationist, mean-minded Britain ahead of them; a Britain they didn’t vote for, by and large. Shouldn’t they have been given more say than us? In five or ten’ years’ time, after the rest of us have kicked the bucket, our children will be living in a country they don’t want. That’s our legacy to them.

On a personal note: I’ve had no response yet to my application for Swedish citizenship – sought in order to keep my European identity alive. But apparently there’s been a rush: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/27/depressed-by-brexit-come-to-sweden. I’m just one of 1100. I must take my place in the queue. (Yes, Swedes are good at queuing too. It’s one of the things that makes me feel at home there.)

In the meantime I have a trip to Genoa next week, to speak at a Conference (http://www.limesonline.com/a-genova-dal-6-al-9-aprile-la-storia-in-piazza/97847?refresh_ce). I’m looking forward to bonding with more of my fellow Europeans. And to the food. I’ll report back here.

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5 Responses to Brexit: Unfair to the Young?

  1. d says:

    By this, ahem, ‘logic’, I guess old people, say 50 and over, shouldn’t really be allowed to vote at all. Better still, cull the lot of ’em! Old people, what an utter waste of space, eh, they know nothing, never have and never will!

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    • Of course not. But before I decide whether this comment is worth replying to properly, I need to know whether it was meant seriously. Probably not – in which case I apologise for missing the irony.

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      • d says:

        I’m not sure I can really be bothered with this but, on the assumption that vote weighting based on age was a considered proposition (though there are very strong grounds to suppose that it was nothing of the sort but instead what is now called ‘virtue signalling’), I pose one question. Would it be still be preferable to weight votes based on age if, as polls suggest, a large number of young people vote for Le Pen in the upcoming French presidential elections, or in that case should the votes of right minded older people carry more weight, even if they may not live very long after the event?

        Actually, there’s no need to reply, I already know the answer. It’s been fun, but I won’t be back.

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      • ‘d’ has left the stage, but I imagine that other readers won’t need to be reminded of the point of mine (s)he has missed.

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  2. Pingback: Feather in the Wind | Porter’s Pensées

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