Our campaign will seek to make four main arguments on why stopping Brexit is the only good deal, both for young people and for the country:
We need a public vote on the government's final deal
Given the people voted for Brexit, it should be the people who must vote to stop Brexit.
There are valid reasons against another public vote and in favour of Parliament taking control of the process. These are complex discussions not best served by a heated debate where politicians can justify saying and doing anything because for their own career, and their country’s future is on the line.
However, those wishing to stop Brexit have to always be conscious of the fact that the country voted for Brexit in 2016. If Parliament was to vote to withdraw Article 50 without clear public support, Parliament could be seen as ’overruling’ the will of the people rather than representing it. This risks inciting extraordinary tensions and inciting feelings that an undemocratic political elite is hijacking democracy unfairly.
MPs and peers themselves are also unlikely to vote against a deal for this reason - they must have clear, categorical proof that they have the people’s support on this.
For both these reasons, OFOC!, whilst dynamic to any and all future events, will seek to persuade Parliament to give its ‘meaningful vote’ on the Withdrawal Deal, won last December, to the people.
Once a meaningful vote on the deal for the people has been secured, the aim becomes very simple: persuade the electorate to reject the deal.
Deprivation of opportunities
Our generation is simply asking for the same opportunities that older generations have had.
Our European identity is the only one most of us have ever known. Many of us have been fortunate enough to travel around Europe, to work in Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris hassle free. All of us, so far, have enjoyed the right to do so. Many have met loved ones abroad, and settled either here or there. Every young German, Frenchman, Spaniard, and Italian will continue to enjoy the ability to live, work, and love across an entire continent, and to continue to enjoy their European identity. Our parents and grandparents, for the last forty years, have enjoyed the same opportunities - it is only younger Brits, who desire these opportunities the most, who are to be deprived of them.
Our generation wants the opportunity to lead in the world, to write history - not just read it. We want to solve the problems we care about, like climate change, cooperating hand in hand with our most important friends and allies on the continent.
We fear Brexit will deprive us of these opportunities - to be the engaged, outward looking, Great European Britain that we know we want to be.
The intergenerational argument
73% of young people voted to Remain. We are overwhelmingly pro-EU, and yet our country is continuing on its current isolationist path regardless. Our generation are going to have to live with the consequences of a disastrous Brexit which we do not want.
To be sure, the youth vote is worth just as much as anybody else’s. We are not campaigning to disenfranchise anyone, and we wholeheartedly support British parliamentary democracy. But this is an issue which demands generational sensitivity, and we will remind older generations that there will be a time when our generation ages. We will soon confront the reality of what we have been left, and if we do not like it we will simply reverse it. If it is a soft Brexit, which represents nothing but a minor and ironic loss of sovereignty, then we will return to our seat at the table. If it is a hard Brexit, we will be so furious with the wanton destruction inflicted on us that we will knock down any and all of the barriers imposed between us and Europe.
Huge distraction from the real issues
As Calum sets out in his Message to Westminster, Britain does not have the time or energy to cope with the demands of Brexit. While hundreds of talented officials line the halls of the DExEU department, our country struggles to cope with the rising inequality and crippling social crises which demand its urgent attention.
Our country is plagued by several social and economic crises - crises which pushed some into voting leave in the first place. We need to fix an NHS which is spluttering from crisis to crisis, to fix the housing market, to give our public services the technological overhaul, investment, and money that they need. We need much better provision of non-university post-16 education. We need a program to deliver prosperity to the communities and towns left out from the prosperity of the last two decades. We need a program to counter pernicious regional inequality, with much better incentives for businesses to operate in more deprived areas. But we cannot realistically achieve this while Brexit diverts precious attention and resources away from the issues which really matter.
Lara Spirit, Femi Oluwole, Will Dry, and Calum Millbank-Murphy - Co-Founders of Our Future, Our Choice