Does Brexit Mean That Baby Boomers Hate Their Own Children?

New Statesman hysteria - Brexit means baby boomers hate their own children

The idea that parents and grandparents would vote Leave out of hatred for their own children is as absurd as it is vile. But some Remainers will make any accusation in their rage against Brexit

The baby boomers of Britain are in the grip of a virulent, infanticidal mania. The EU referendum apparently caused highly contagious spores to be released into the air,  primarily affecting those aged 65 and over, causing them to forget any maternal, paternal or other protective familial instincts and instead seek to cause maximum financial and emotional suffering to their own children and grandchildren, for the pure pleasure of it.

Or at least so says Jonn Elledge, staff writer for the New Statesman, who brings every ounce of confirmation bias in his body to bear on a new YouGov poll in order to pronounce that by voting for Brexit, baby boomers and older people must actively “hate their own children”.

First of all, let’s be clear about what the YouGov poll actually says:

YouGov poll - Brexit extremism

That is, a significant majority of Brexit voters would be willing to tolerate significant damage to the British economy in order to see Brexit fulfilled, a tendency which the poll goes on to reveal becomes stronger among older age groups.

Is this necessarily evidence of “Brexit extremism”? Perhaps, but one can only say for sure if one takes it for granted that economic growth (or avoiding economic harm) is the sole valid consideration of a rational person, a premise which neither the poll nor Jonn Elledge even attempts to make.

And of course, the corollary to these figures is the fact that the same “extremism” is alive and well among Remain voters, many of whom would dearly love to see Britain heavily punished economically so long as it meant that Brexit was subverted and they could stay in their beloved European Union:

YouGov poll - Brexit extremism 2

Jonn Elledge takes no notice of this latter fact, though, and immediately launches into a hysterical tirade against the evil older generations who clearly could have had no other motive for voting Leave other than to watch as their children and grandchildren suffered and led diminished lives. No, seriously.

Elledge writes:

The older Leave voters are, the more likely they are to think crashing the economy because they don’t like Belgians is a pretty fine kind of idea.

That trend reaches its peak among the Leavers aged over 65, fully half of whom are happy to tell pollsters that they don’t give a shit if Brexit causes a relative to lose their job, they want it and they want it hard.

Ah yes, let’s begin with a glib assertion that Brexit is all about not liking Belgians or other funny foreigners. One might think that one year on after having his worldview so thoroughly and humiliatingly repudiated by the British people in the EU referendum, Jonn Elledge might have had the humility to go back to the drawing board and question some of his glib and not-very-witty assumptions about what motivates people to make political choices. But apparently not.


The thing about the over 65s is that relatively few of them work: to be blunt about it, those most enthusiastic about people losing jobs are those who don’t have jobs to lose. The vast majority of this oldest cohort will be on pensions, whose value is far less likely to come under threat from a recession than almost any other form of income. Most will own their own houses, too. They’re the section of the population most likely to be left entirely unscathed by the Brexit-based recession. They are quite literally alright, Jack – and, it turns out, fully half of them don’t care if their kids aren’t.

Baby boomers, as a cohort, benefited from free education, generous welfare and cheap housing, then voted for parties which denied those things to their kids. Their contribution to intergenerational inequality led my colleague Stephen Bush, in one of his frequent bouts of being infuriatingly good at his job, to note that, “The baby boomer is one of the few mammals that eats its own young.” All this we already knew.

Nonetheless, it’s rare to see this selfishness communicated so baldly, so shamelessly. When asked directly whether they’d swap the wealth and security of their own children for a blue passport and the ability to deport Polish plumbers, they said yes in huge numbers.

“Would you like your children to have a better life than yourselves?” You Gov asked them. And the reply came back: “Fuck ’em.”

This YouGov poll could have touched off a genuinely interesting conversation about the balance between present wealth and future liberty, about other historical examples of populations allowing themselves to be bought off with bread and circuses in exchange for turning a blind eye to the way that their societies were (mis)governed. But that would have required a British political media class who did not think as a herd that the European Union is an unquestionably Good Thing, and that anybody who dissents from this groupthink is an irrational, evil hater.

Does Jonn Elledge seriously believe, in his heart of hearts, that those older people who voted for Brexit did so with the expressed intention of harming their children and grandchildren – or at least not caring that such harm might come to pass? Does he not realise that the counterfactual, unrecorded by YouGov (who did not bother to probe more deeply) is that perhaps these older people – rightly or wrongly – thought that by voting for Brexit they were preserving some other vital social good for their descendants, something potentially even more valuable than a couple of points of GDP growth?

I would posit that the supposedly hateful Daily Mail-reading generation of grey haired fascists scorned by Jonn Elledge actually do not have any particular desire to inflict economic harm on their children and grandchildren, but simply realise – through having lived full lives through periods of considerably less material abundance than those of us born since the 1980s – that other things matter too. Things like freedom and self-determination, precious gifts which were under threat during the Second World War and the Cold War, and which the older generations who remember these difficult times therefore do not casually take for granted.

They correctly perceive that sometimes there is a trade-off between short term economic security and long term freedom and prosperity. Can anyone who knows their history – or at least has watched the recent Dunkirk movie – doubt that the British population would have been immeasurably safer and better off in the short term had we made peace with Nazi Germany rather than fighting on alone after the fall of Europe? And looked at through a purely economic lens, how many years of subjugation beneath the jackboot of a fascist regime would have tipped the scale and suddenly made it worth fighting for freedom after all?

This time, the choice before us is nowhere near as difficult, and the trade-offs nowhere near as severe. Even if this incompetent government mishandles Brexit as badly as sometimes appears likely, bombs will not fall from the sky to level our cities and destroy our cathedrals. This is not to understate the effect that a mishandled Brexit negotiation could have – any uptick in unemployment or decrease in economic activity is highly suboptimal, with real human consequences.

But there are negative consequences associated with failing to safeguard our democratic institutions and fundamental liberties too, though they often seem remote or even irrelevant until suddenly they are both present and irreversible. Those who have been on this good Earth for a few more decades than Jonn Elledge perhaps appreciate this fact more readily.

Our politics has become increasingly consumerist in recent years – the politics of me me me. And unfortunately we now have a young and poorly educated millennial generation – my generation – who see politics only through the lens of what they can get for themselves in terms of perks and opportunities. This makes them particularly vulnerable to any old charlatan who comes along spewing EU propaganda suggesting that the European Union is the only reason that they are able to “live, love and work in other countries” (to use their nauseating phrase du jour).

Ultimately this is yet another total failure of the pro-EU Left to remotely empathise with those on the other side of the Brexit argument. It represents a colossal failure of imagination to sincerely believe – let alone publish in a major national political magazine! – that a generation of parents and grandparents who scrimped, saved and sacrificed to raise their families now want to cause them harm merely to warm themselves in the glow of imperial nostalgia as they enter their twilight years.

And yet this is what Elledge, the New Statesman and countless commentators on the Left would have us believe. Frankly, this haughty and arrogant attitude is more dehumanising of its victims than that of the xenophobe who may believe that foreigners are good people, but simply doesn’t want them in his country – at least there is still the outside possibility that they vaguely respect the other.

I’ll say that again, lest there be any doubt or confusion – by holding this vile opinion, Jonn Elledge, the New Statesman and anyone who concurs is worse than a garden variety xenophobe.

A society which does not respect its elders cannot long endure, and these puffed-up millennial moralisers seem determined to drive us into the ditch as fast as they possibly can.


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Tales From The Safe Space, Part 40 – The University Of Chicago Fights Back

University of Missouri - Mizzou Hunger Strike

Yes, some things – like academic freedom – are more important than the delicate feelings of new undergraduate students. Kudos to the University of Chicago for making their incoming freshman class aware of that hard fact up front.

In a refreshing contrast to the usual depressing tales of faculty capitulations to the whining, self-involved voices of the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics, the University of Chicago decided to make a bold stand for academic freedom.

From Heat Street:

The University of Chicago, one of America’s most prestigious and selective universities, is warning incoming students starting this fall not to expect safe spaces and a trigger-free existence during their four-year journey through academia.

In a letter sent to the class of 2020, university officials said one of the defining characteristics of the school was its unwavering commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression. Civility and mutual respect are vital to the campus culture, the letter states, but not at the expense of shielding students from unpopular opinions or ideas.

“Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called “trigger warnings,” we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual “safe spaces” where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own,” the letter states.

Expect the University of Chicago to be rewarded for their courage and integrity through greater application and enrolment numbers, as well as higher levels of achievement from the incoming undergraduate class as those delicate snowflakes too enraptured by their own vulnerability and completely unable to process dissenting opinions decide to study at other, more large-L liberal schools.

Already we have started to see a backlash against those institutions and university leaderships which are too quick to capitulate to petulant SJW demands to alter the curriculum, suppress free speech, disinvite conservative speakers and turn the campus from being a place of fearless debate to one of infantilising self-affirmation and victimhood.

The University of Missouri, roiled by campus protests last year in which marauding Social Justice Warriors forced the resignation of the university president for failing to treat black students like helpless victims, has seen its enrolment and profitability fall off a cliff. Good. If there is any justice, enrolment at Mizzou will dwindle until there is nothing left but tumbleweeds and the shrieking activists who drove out reason from a place of learning. And closer to home, the University of Oxford’s Oriel College had to frantically appease angry alumni donors who were ready to cancel their donations to the college in protest at Oriel’s limp capitulation to the Rhodes Must Fall movement.

In this very “Tales From The Safe Space” series, we have previously highlighted other examples of academic institutions standing up to their crybully students rather than rolling over and letting them seize control – the uncompromising example set by Dr. Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is particularly encouraging.

As Dr. Piper memorably warned his students:

If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up.

And flatly reminded them:

This is not a day care. This is a university.

A long-overdue reminder for some students.

And so the University of Chicago’s stand against the SJWs did not happen in isolation; nor was it possible without a rigorous examination of the negative trends in campus life and the various ways in which academic freedom is under attack. And that is precisely what they did – back in 2014 the university commissioned a report on the state of freedom of expression at universities nationwide and reaffirming their own commitment to the timeless value of free speech over and above any passing social fashion.

From the report (my emphasis in bold):

Because the University is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, it guarantees all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn. Except insofar as limitations on that freedom are necessary to the functioning of the University, the University of Chicago fully respects and supports the freedom of all members of the University community “to discuss any problem that presents itself.”

Of course, the ideas of different members of the University community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive. Although the University greatly values civility, and although all members of the University community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community.

[..] In a word, the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose. Indeed, fostering the ability of members of the University community to engage in such debate and deliberation in an effective and responsible manner is an essential part of the University’s educational mission.

And it is that last part which presents such a challenge to many of today’s students – young people today are not only arriving at university unable to tolerate let alone contest ideas which they oppose, they are outraged at the very suggestion that they should learn to cope in such a way.

And not entirely through their own fault, for mine is a snowflake generation raised to believe that we are special, unique, perfect and above any reproach which might damage our self-esteem. We are taught not that sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt us, but rather that sticks and stones may break our bones but words can kills us stone dead.

From early childhood education on upward we are taught that hurting someone’s feelings is just as bad – if not worse – than physically assaulting them. And all the while we are told to present our tear-stained faces to the relevant authorities the moment that somebody upsets us, so that they can receive their just punishment. We are not taught self sufficiency, resilience and the power of reason, but rather are encouraged to exalt in our weaknesses and wear our fragility like a badge of honour.

Little wonder, then, that when my generation reach university and fall under the intoxicating presence of the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics (student protests always appearing edgy and cool, but this incarnation representing a dangerous shift in attitude and tactics) so many of us immediately buy in to the idea that our personal worldview and beliefs are never to be questioned.

The University of Chicago alone cannot do anything about the way that people in the English-speaking Western world raise their children or educate them at a young age. They cannot challenge the toxic rise of baby-centred parenting, where parents and adults contort themselves to conform to the whims and sensitivities of their historically pampered children rather than promoting respect, deference and anti-fragility. The University of Chicago is but one academic institution facing a tidal wave of consequences from years of bad parenting, educational and child-rearing trends in society.

But what the University of Chicago can do – what they did do, admirably – is boldly restate who and what they are as an organisation, and what they stand for as an institute of higher education. They can boldly restate their commitment to the timeless values of academic freedom, and the fostering of personal and intellectual growth through robust debate and the free exchange of views. They can tell their incoming freshmen that no matter how accustomed they are to getting gold stars simply for participating, or demanding positive affirmation of even their most questionable decisions, the days of coddling will end the moment they set foot on campus.

This is what the University of Chicago did. This is what every university in America, Britain and the entire English-speaking world needs to do now if they are to avoid regressing into nothing more than adult daycare centres where the Play-Doh and puppy videos are piled high while challenging books burn in a pyre outside the library.


Safe Space Notice - 2

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By Failing To Back Brexit, Millennial Voters Are Failing Their Generation’s First Great Test Of Character

Students for Europe

Millennial voters who lazily but instinctively support Britain remaining in the European Union are letting down their country and their entire generation

Lately, this blog has been focusing on the younger, millennial generation and our unfortunate propensity to think as scared consumers rather than engaged citizens, and so overwhelmingly support Britain remaining in the European Union (even if many of us are too lazy to carry our opinions as far as the ballot box).

In taking this stance, I have encountered some pushback from readers, who have (rightly) pointed to the fact that older generations can be equally greedy and self-interested, but (wrongly) drawn a false equivalence between the two.

While not all young Remainers hold their position because of perceived material self-interest, those who completely ignore the democratic question to focus exclusively on their own material (typically career and travel) prospects – which would almost certainly be completely unaffected in the event of Brexit – are fully deserving of the criticism levelled at them by this blog and others.

The Guardian breaks down the latest polling data:

Government strategists and pollsters privately admit that the central problem for the Remain side is that its support for staying in the EU is strongest among young people, the group least likely to vote. Opinium found that in the 18-34 age group, 53% said they backed staying in, against 29% who wanted to leave. But only just over half (52%) in this age group said they were certain to actually go out and vote.

Among voters in the 55-and-over category, support for leaving was far stronger, as was their certainty to vote, offering a huge advantage to the Leave side.

Some 54% of voters aged 55 and over said they wanted to leave against 30% who wanted the UK to remain in the EU. But in stark contrast to younger voters, 81% of this group were certain to vote.

Perhaps our generation is in need of a wake-up call. This particular tirade (quoted below) is addressed to American millennials flirting with the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, but parts of it apply equally to younger British voters indignant that the Leave campaign’s quest to restore democracy is interfering with their perceived career options springing from the munificent European Union.

Courtney Kirchoff writes over at Steve Crowder’s website:

Adulthood isn’t what we thought it would be. No, the economy these past several years hasn’t exactly been stellar, either. Okay? Okay.

My fellow millennials, for sure we have our challenges. Many of you were raised in broken homes. Many of you were exposed to divorce. It’s possible a lot of you didn’t live with your father or may not have known him at all. Combine home life with the rise of political correctness in school, taking its dangerous form of “self-esteem above all,” and no wonder you think life is unfair but you should have it all.

Look, I’m sorry life screwed you over in the early years. I’m sorry if you were shuffled to daycare day in and day out. I’m sorry if you don’t have memories of playing with your parents. But most of all, I’m sorry you were not instilled with the grand idea of personal responsibility. I’m sorry you were not empowered with the notion that YOU are the commander of your own life. If you take nothing else from this post, believe that no matter who you are, you can succeed. Without government.

Because guess what, my friends? You’re abject loyalty to socialism is going to tank our country. Your insistence on getting what you want and making other people pay for it, all under the guise of “fairness,” will lead to ruin. For everyone. Including you.

Switch out “socialism” and “government” and replace it with “the EU” and you have a perfect response to the EU’s millennial cheerleaders.

Yes, of course this is an age of anxiety. Just as the boomer generation seriously worried about imminent nuclear annihilation, so we worry about job security and career prospects. But we are hardly a uniquely benighted generation, though there are indeed many ways which our politics currently favours older voters – the government’s lack of a coherent housing policy being an obvious example.

But I’m sorry: growing up in economically uncertain times in an age where there is no guaranteed job for life does not absolve millennials – my generation – from thinking not only as self-interested consumers but also as engaged citizens who care about the country and democracy that they will bequeath to their own descendants.

The generation who spent their prime years fighting fascism – and who saw their contemporary Britain largely reduced to rubble and ruin in the process – could have abstained en masse from fighting the Nazi threat in order to buy a few more years of economic security and job stability through appeasement. But they were willing to go to war and risk what they had for principles which transcended material concerns.

By contrast, our generation is not called to risk or sacrifice nearly as much as our grandparents and great grandparents were to defend democracy and national self-determination – and in fact could have much to gain from British secession from the European Union, materially and otherwise. But by an overwhelming majority we are unwilling to take even that far smaller risk.

And history will long note this colossal failure of courage and character from Generation Me Me Me.


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Self-Entitled Young People For Remain

Students for Europe - EU Referendum - Brexit - European Union

The EU’s young cheerleaders have lots to say about their own material self-interest, but fall strangely silent when it comes to democracy

After Abi Wilkinson’s petulant complaint that Leave campaigners attempting to restore British democracy are harming the job prospects of the young, we now have another youthful but clueless voice making the same case.

Presenting Richard Godwin in the Evening Standard:

I just feel European. I’m part of a generation that has had easy access to mainland Europe for both work and play.

I like Penélope Cruz and Daft Punk and tiki-taka and Ingmar Bergman and spaghetti and absinthe and saunas and affordable trains.

As sentimental as it sounds, Europe represents opportunity, cosmopolitanism, modernity, romance, enrichment, adventure to me

Cutting all that off — even symbolically — would feel both spiteful and arbitrary.

Quite why leaving the explicitly political construct of the European Union would mean that Richard Godwin is no longer part of the continent of Penelope Cruz and Daft Punk is never explained – because of course, it wouldn’t. We would be cutting off nothing, symbolically or otherwise, aside from the dead weight of a supranational political organisation which suppresses democracy in a misguided attempt to harmonise 28 distinct European countries into a single, new European state.

But then at least Godwin has the decency to admit that he is being driven primarily by instinct, unlike the hapless Abi Wilkinson who seemed to suggest that the pro-europeanism of the young is based on enlightened consideration while the pro-democracy euroscepticism of older generations is based on selfishness and whimsy (when of course youthful pro-europeanism is almost entirely the product of ignorance and selfishness).

Sadly, this does not stop Godwin from lecturing us about how young people – my generation – have a greater stake in the future:

It should go without saying that the young have more stake in the future but it’s also contrary to electoral logic. Only 34 per cent of over-65s are in favour of remaining, there are more of them, and they’re more likely to vote.

It means that young people end up in a death spiral, defeated by their own disillusionment. But my hunch is that the only way to change that is with an appeal to hearts rather than heads. Shouldn’t we always aspire to act together rather than alone?

Apparently Godwin’s only concern for the future is that he has the maximum chance of living in a big house with lots of shiny consumer goods to distract him from the fact that he no longer lives in a democracy, has no influence over the decisions which affect his life and has no way of removing the people who make all the key decisions.

In other words, Richard Godwin, like Abi Wilkinson, is thinking primarily as a consumer. Material considerations (job, house, iPhones) consume his every thought – at no point in his paean to the European Union did he even mention democracy or self-determination, or acknowledge any of the many and growing flaws in the EU’s governance.

And of course despite the scaremongering of the Remain campaign, there is no evidence to suggest that Britain would face economic ruin by leaving the EU – and every reason to believe that staying in the EU only perpetuates a discredited, anachronistic model of regional protectionism rather than the global regulation and removal of non-tariff trade barriers that are really needed to unleash global trade and unleash real prosperity.

But Godwin wouldn’t know about any of that, because he is too busy eating spaghetti, watching Penelope Cruz movies and congratulating himself for being such an enlightened, post-national, European citizen. He doesn’t care about the history, traditions or culture of the country which gave him life and liberty – or if he does, they are very much secondary thoughts compared to the ignorant and false assumption that he will no longer be able to work and play in Europe if we become an independent, self-governing country again.

Apparently Richard Godwin is happy to behave and be seen as a selfish consumer first and foremost, rather than an engaged citizen whose thoughts extend beyond his own narrow interest. And that’s actually fine. I hope that more Richard Godwins and Abi Wilkinsons come crawling out of the woodwork as this EU referendum campaign goes on.

Because every new spoilt millennial who comes blinking from their parents’ basement to complain that the evil Leave campaign is threatening their gilded future serves to prove that this campaign is about principled citizenship versus naked self interest.

Very few people are covering themselves in glory in this EU referendum campaign. But the European Union’s youthful cheerleaders from Generation Me Me Me are clearly intent on doing everything they can to make young people look as bad as possible.


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This Reckless Talk Of Brexit Is Making Whiny Young People Anxious

Team of creative people taking a break and using computer.

Staying in the EU and surrendering our democracy is a small price to pay to keep self-entitled millennials happy, because nothing is more important than generation Me Me Me

We of the millennial generation are fast acquiring a reputation as lazy, self-entitled whiners, endlessly complaining about how hard we have it – as though we are the first generation in history to come of age during economically uncertain times.

One might have thought that living in an age when each of us has a mini computer in our pocket which can tap the accumulated knowledge of the entire world – and when we don’t have to worry about, say, dying from tuberculosis – might make us momentarily grateful. But of course we are not, and now apparently the latest “injustice” being inflicted on the millennial generation – my generation – is the terrifying idea that Britain might vote to leave the European Union and seek to govern ourselves as an independent democracy once again.

Channelling this fear, Abi Wilkinson has written a nauseating piece in the Telegraph, explaining why the existential question of Brexit and Britain’s place in the world should be based entirely on the selfish desires and career insecurity of our generation.

Her piece – hilariously titled “Stubborn old people who want to leave the EU are condemning the rest to a lifetime of uncertainty” – is so patronisingly, finger-waggingly sanctimonious (and so readily swallows every talking point from Britain Stronger in Europe) that it makes anyone under the age of 35 seem completely insufferable, not to mention utterly wrong on the fundamentals.

Wilkinson opens:

When you consider that the risks of leaving the EU fall disproportionately on young people, it’s unsurprising that 18-29s are the group least likely to support the move. Almost three quarters of us say we’ll vote to remain, compared with just 37 per cent of over 60s. For many under-30s, worrying about employment has been a defining feature of our adult lives. Having come of age at the height of the financial crisis I know I’m certainly not keen to endure another similar economic downturn.

Of course becoming an adult and entering the workforce during a major recession is tough. Back in 2008 I had friends at Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers who came home from work one day with all of their possessions in a cardboard box, and I narrowly escaped a redundancy round at my own company. Nobody wants economic uncertainty if it can be avoided, but at what point do infringements on democracy and the fundamental right to self-determination outweigh the hope of greater short term stability?

Wilkinson sees no such tradeoff at all – she is ready to jettison democracy at the first sign of trouble, throwing away our freedom even if it buys a measly 0.1% additional GDP growth. But the truth is that Brexit is possible while keeping disruption to a minimum by exiting to EFTA and EEA membership (the “soft landing” approach which would almost certainly be adopted by civil servants even if it is currently being furiously ignored by the mainstream Leave campaigns).

Abi Wilkinson might have known that there exists a comprehensive plan to achieve Brexit, extricating us from political union while minimising economic and other disruption. But like too many others of my generation, Wilkinson can’t be bothered to do her research, and so instead she swallows and regurgitates propaganda from the Remain campaign.

A man walks past various currency signs outside a brokerage in Tokyo

Wilkinson continues:

Already, young people are particularly likely to be in low-paid, precarious employment. Many are stuck working jobs well below their qualification level and struggle to secure the full-time hours they need to pay their rent and basic living costs. For anyone in this situation, the TUC’s warning that workers’ rights enshrined in EU law could come under attack following a Brexit vote is another serious worry.

At this point, Wilkinson’s politics become clear. She is one of those cookie-cutter lefties who love the European Union because they believe it acts as a social democratic bulwark against the Evil Tory policies which would otherwise ravage the nation. Or to put it another way, Abi Wilkinson doesn’t give a damn about the right of the British people to vote for the policies that they want for themselves. The population is too conservative for Wilkinson’s taste, and so we must have values and policies imposed upon us which we are not currently enlightened enough to vote for ourselves.

Abi Wilkinson is a great champion of democracy, you see.

But now it starts getting really offensive:

Less negatively, many people in their teens and 20s also appreciate the broader benefits of belonging to the European community. We’re more likely to travel abroad to work or study. Many of us have friends who were born in other countries so we’re less inclined to be wary of other cultures. We’re also much more likely to date someone who was born outside the UK.

In contrast, supporters of Brexit often seem to be motivated by a fear of the unknown. Older people are more likely to distrust migrants and to feel nostalgic for the comparatively homogenous UK of days gone by. Though there’s a sizeable retiree expat community residing in countries such as as Spain, over 60s are statistically likely to see the free movement of people as a threat rather than an opportunity.

Of course, for those who’ve already exited the labour market – or are planning to retire within the next few years – it’s much easier to focus on your gut instinct. If you’ve not got to worry about your employment prospects, the economic facts of the matter can be treated as a secondary concern. Young people have a reputation for being reckless, but in the EU referendum it’s older folk who will be playing fast and loose with the livelihoods of younger generations.

And continues:

As more countries have joined the EU, migration to the UK has gradually increased.

As a 20-something living in London, this isn’t something that worries me. I’m used to hearing a whole range of different languages and accents as I go about my daily life. It’s a mundane fact that many of my neighbours are relatively recent immigrants, not a cause for concern.

For someone who has lived in the same area for decades, however, I can see that it might be harder to adjust to changes in the local community. Still, it’s worth noting that UK-born people who live in relatively diverse neighbourhoods tend to feel more positively about migrants than those who don’t — suggesting that fear of immigration might be disproportionate to the reality.

Young people, open and tolerant; old people, suspicious and racist. Got it?

Note too how Wilkinson has pivoted, portraying young Remainers as the fearless go-getters off to pursue international careers and date hot Italians, while old people are now “[afraid] of the unknown”. She switches perspectives at several points throughout the piece, as though she cannot make up her mind whether young people are brave pioneers or snivelling victims (probably because it suits her purposes to be both at different times).

But worst of all is the suggestion that older people supporting Brexit are doing so not out of considered deliberation, but through “gut instinct”; that they are somehow not taking this seriously, and playing “fast and loose” with the livelihoods of the young.

Here, Wilkinson is seriously suggesting that the generation who have abandoned watching a nightly news bulletin in favour of Buzzfeed listicles pushed to their smartphone screens are the wise and discerning citizens, while those who actually have living memory of the European Union’s incremental power grabs are the ones making light of a critical geopolitical issue. The sheer gall of it is quite unbelievable.

Read the whole thing, if you can get to the end of Wilkinson’s sanctimonious lecture without wanting to punch your computer screen.

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The problem with Abi Wilkinson – and too many other members of Generation Me Me Me – is that they believe their right to an easy path through life trumps everyone else’s right to live in a representative democracy. As far as they are concerned, the fact that our own elected Westminster and devolved parliaments are increasingly sidelined by a supranational European entity is just the price we will have to pay for their ongoing contentment, because heaven forfend that the fuzzy career aspirations of some first year Gender Studies student are thwarted by a badly-timed outbreak of democracy.

In other words, too many millennials don’t know how to think or act as engaged citizens. Rather, they are capable only of behaving like selfish consumers, jealously guarding what they see as their special pot of privileges without the slightest care for the wider impact on the customs and institutions which together make up the fabric of our country, and which have often existed for decades or centuries before they were even born.

To this arrogant mindset, the older generations (like those strange grey haired people who gather round the Cenotaph every November wearing their silly medals for doing something or other in the past) don’t have a clue about what is best for Britain.

Apparently the generation which fought and bled and died to secure our freedom – whose contemporary Britain was reduced to rubble and rationing and deprivation in the 1940s when they were in the prime of life – is the selfish one, while their descendants (and I include myself) who sacrificed nothing but have mastered the Art of the Selfie somehow have a lot to teach our elders about responsible citizenship.

I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it, and I will not have it proclaimed in my name. Abi Wilkinson can speak for her very selfish self, but she should not presume to speak for the rest of her generation, or to demean the older generations so haughtily and glibly.

Some of us actually respect our elders. Some of us appreciate that coming of age when the building on the corner was a smoking crater from a German V2 rocket – rather than an artisan coffee shop with free WiFi – might possibly have imparted some wisdom and experience that we have not yet managed to acquire for ourselves.

Some of us weren’t born expecting all of the good things in life to be handed to us on a golden plate, or raised to be so rude that we write articles in the Telegraph essentially declaring “to hell with your democracy, give me a job in Madrid and cheap mobile roaming charges!”

Some of us are not so arrogant to assume that because we are “the future”, we are free to completely reshape society as we please, with no regard for the traditions and proven solutions of the past – you know, things like representative democracy, that old-fashioned concept where you actually get to vote out the people who make the key decisions if you disagree with them (try doing that in Wilkinson’s beloved EU).

Abi Wilkinson’s narcissistic, self-centred embrace of the Remain campaign makes me sick. It represents everything bad about the millennial generation, confirming every worst stereotype and instantly negating all of the better angels of our generation’s nature.

To those older Britons who wore the uniform, who fought for this country, who grew up in real deprivation in the early post-war years, who actually remember a time when Britain was a sovereign democracy and who are rightly incensed at being addressed as though you are stupid and greedy by a vapid, know-nothing millennial: please know that Abi Wilkinson does not speak for us all.


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