Hard Brexit: What it means for young people in the UK
In the aftermath of the EU Referendum, Britain’s decision to leave the 23-year-old bloc is starting to have some seriously concerning effects.
The unelected conservative government, led by Theresa May, held a party conference to lay out their vision for the country’s future. Her questionable slogan, “A country that works for everyone,” and recent policies have proven very divisive.
However, the worrying line, “If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere,” mentioned during the conference, has sent ripples of questions about what this means for foreigners who come here to work and learn and how this decision will affect young people who wish to visit the country for similar reasons.
A number of troubling policies have recently come about in the U.K., almost as an act of deterrence to those who are not British nationals. Fueled by the likes of UKIP and other right-wing politics with the Brexit vote, a set of negative mindsets have exploded onto the scene, making the U.K. far less tolerant than before.
One of the policies highlighted during May’s party conference, which may bring problems to young people, is the requirement of all U.K. schools to list the nationality and birthplace of school children who are not British nationals. This is an especially worrisome policy, as it practically treats any and all schoolchildren who are not British as second-class citizens.
In September, a letter was sent out by many schools in the U.K. stating that they require this information. It’s possible that this same letter will be sent out at the beginning of each academic year and the consequences could be quite negative.
Marking and tracking foreign children from the start of their education could carry through into adult life and employment.
Easily the strongest opponent to Brexit is Scotland, which is fiercely against the current government’s plans. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been recently drawing up plans for a second Scottish Referendum, just two years after the first one.
Some say that a separated Scotland is highly beneficial, an escape from the troubles plaguing the U.K. and an opportunity to build something that continues to support and work with the European Union. Considering how Scotland has been relegated to a side note in Brexit discussions, it is hardly surprising that they want no more part of the chaotic mess sweeping through the country.
There is already evidence that the U.K. is becoming less tolerant, with hate crimes spiking by 42 percent since the vote in July. The right for EU nationals to stay in the U.K. was also recently rejected in the House of Commons.
British Conservative politician Liam Fox described EU Nationals currently living in the U.K. as “one of our main cards” in the upcoming Brexit negotiations, bargaining chips to further their own plans. It’s possible that if the EU refuses to deliver a deal deemed fit by the U.K.’s current government, then EU citizens living in the country will be forced to bear the brunt of post-Brexit policies.
Most recently, Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to continue cooperation with the EU until Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which states what happens when a country wants to leave the EU, is invoked, but her words and position appear to be ringing hollow, considering her steadfast dedication to a hard Brexit.
Meanwhile, the U.K. continues to work itself into a frenzy over immigration. This is brought on by the vote and the overzealous mainstream media — over 81 percent of which is owned by moguls and corporations — that pushes the horrendous message that migrants and foreigners are responsible for the problems of the U.K.
Britain’s decision to turn in on itself will have damning results for young people, be it U.K. nationals or those who wish to visit the country from overseas.
Slowly, the policies that are being brought to the table carry a manipulative message for young Britons, one that states they matter more than people of different backgrounds, making foreigners feel less welcome as time passes.
The only real obstacles to Britain’s exit — and the self-centered policies contained therein — have been protests by foreign workers to show the value they give to society and the economy.