OFOC headed to Lincoln on the 12th September to ask young people what they think about Brexit.
The county of Lincolnshire recorded the UK’s highest Brexit vote in 2016. Voters in the city of Lincoln gave Leave 56.9% of their vote, but neighbouring towns such as Boston and Skegness were even more resolute - 75.6% of Boston voted Leave, making it the most pro-Brexit town in Britain.
At the Speaker’s Corner in Lincoln, OFOC assembled a large ‘letter’, a vast assortment of card reaching over 4 metres wide pieced together and addressed to the local MP, Karen Lee.
Following the words, ‘Dear Karen, this is what we think Brexit means for the future of young people in Lincoln’ young people wrote dozens of messages to their MP and pinned them to the large letter. We later delivered this to the constituency office before an event in a local youth centre, where Femi spoke to young people about their concerns and how they can mobilise against Brexit in Lincoln.
Young people’s concerns were clear, the messages included one which read ‘I was 2 weeks off being able to vote in the referendum. I would have voted Remain’.
We were struck by how many young people in Lincoln spoke about the dislocation they felt with politics in Westminster. They were just as concerned about the uncertainty of a blind Brexit, but there was a sense that their voices would mean nothing to politicians making the big decisions on the biggest issue of a generation.
We hope we sent a clear message to Karen Lee: young people in Lincoln do not want Brexit, and their voices must form a much bigger part of the debate in the next few months than they have done until now. We came away with a number of incredibly enthusiastic young people who are keen to get involved with the campaign, and we are confident that they can make make an impact on their MP leading into the autumn.
Our Future, Our Choice, the largest youth campaign for a People's Vote, is expanding its vibrant grassroots campaign. Our organisation is the hub of a national movement of young people, and our volunteers and staffers are in constant motion all around the country.
We need your help to win this campaign. Across the country, thousands of our members work towards a People's Vote by meeting regularly and building a pressure campaign through canvassing in their communities, writing to their local newspapers, phone banking, and raising awareness. We want you on board.
Will you join our team of more than 10,000 members nationwide?
OFOC activists lent the government a hand today: because of Theresa May’s shambolic Brexit, Britain is the only developed country in the world to be stockpiling food and medicine, so we went along to help.
The group gathered outside the Department for Health and Social Care to make our own stockpile of essential supplies: we hoped they would be ‘adequate’ as Dominic Raab said to the Brexit Select Committee last month. Tins were offered to civil servants to assist them in their stockpiling work. Placards bore the telling slogan ‘no-one voted for stockpiling.’
Local OFOC members gave Banksy a run for his money, as activists roved the city centre to remind majority Remain-voting Bristolians that their diverse and colourful European city doesn’t need to be compromised by Brexit. Using a clean graffiti technique, we inscribed on the pavements of the Old City “Brexit Breaks Bristol or Bristol Breaks Brexit?”.
If passers-by looked initially baffled at the sight of an industrial power-washer in the narrow cobbled streets, our message engaged locals of all ages. Their answer? Resoundingly the latter.
Such sentiment is unsurprising. Bristol’s relationship with Europe is incredibly close, not only through its resident population of pan-European artists, but also in its success as a centre for innovation, with its universities fuelled by EU funding under Horizon 2020. The EU’s close involvement in Bristol’s technology sector was reflected in our own addition to Stoke’s Croft’s famous graffiti. Airbus has announced that it could be shutting down its Bristol plant, dependent on the details of the final deal. The plant employs thousands in the Bristol area, and is only one among many others, including Rolls-Royce, that have expressed concerns over Brexit.
Amongst the local OFOC activists was Suzie Beckley, a linguist at the University of Bristol and Alice Miller, a student in Liberal Arts at the University of Amsterdam. Suzie said: “My entire choice of degree was predicated on the ability to move and travel in the EU. Now, following Brexit, what could have been a reality for me career-wise now is becoming more and more of a fantasy.
The reception at Bristol was fantastic – watch this space for more stunts around the UK!
"We should draw on the likes of Our Future Our Choice and For Our Future’s Sake: inspirational groups who put young people’s voices and concerns front and centre.” - READ Caroline Lucas in the Indpendent
'We should draw on the likes of Our Future Our Choice and For Our Future’s Sake: inspirational groups who put young people’s voices and concerns front and centre."
In this article for The Independent, Caroline Lucas articulates the need for diverse voices to be heard in the Brexit debate.
The challenge to those of us who want to stand up to the Tories' disastrous Brexit goes beyond a final vote on the deal and our daily resistance: it must mean imagining a better Britain within a reformed EU
Boris: you can’t keep all the benefits despite wanting to leave. Time to understand the consequences of Bor-exit.
Since his resignation as Foreign Secretary a couple of weeks ago, Boris seems to once again be trying to have his cake and eat it. Despite his professed stance that leave does indeed mean leave, he’s kept living in his grace-and-favour mansion in Westminster. Today, we went along with our friends from For our Future’s Sake (FFS) to help him out.
"Why are we wasting our time on something that there is zero chance will be looked on favourably by future generations?" READ Vice's profile of Our Future, Our Choice
Why are we wasting our time on something that there is zero chance will be looked on favourably by future generations?"
Will points out how Brexit is a project that 'won’t be completed by the time it loses its democratic mandate: Read the full profile of our 'insurgent anti-Brexit faction' here.
'We need you to fight for our future Jeremy, not facilitate a drastic blow to it.' Femi address Corbyn on behalf of Britain's young
'Like you, we are appalled by the problems our society faces. But leaving the EU will only exacerbate these issues.'
Young people provided much of Labour's 2017 surge: here Femi urges Corbyn not to ignore their wishes on the most important issue of a generation. Read the full article here.
'Brexit is now being shaped by ministers who have a record of failing and dismissing the young, and by a party which has no ability or inclination to represent us' - OFOC's Tommy Gale examines Theresa May's new cabinet
'The latest reshuffle has installed new ministers at the heart of government who have shown contempt for the young in the past and look set to bring this outlook to their central roles in negotiating Brexit on our behalf:' far from shifting policy in a more sensible direction, Tommy Gale writes in the New European about how the ministers now in charge of Brexit have a troubling record.
We invited every single Cabinet minister to meet us to talk about Brexit and young people: they all ignored us.
We asked every single member of Theresa May's cabinet to come and meet us to talk about what young people think about Brexit: publicly or privately, any time, any place, any format. Yet each one of them rejected us. We didn't think this was OK, so turned up to their Chequers summit, telling them 'your Brexit deal screws our future: explain yourselves.'
We went to Labour Live to tell Jeremy Corbyn what young people really think. Alongside our colleagues at For our Future's Sake (FFS), we unfurled a banner telling him to 'stop backing Brexit.'Read more