On June 23 this year, Britons are being asked to vote on whether the UK should remain part of the European Union or not.
The vote, dubbed the ‘Brexit,’ is dominating the headlines in the UK, but it hasn’t exactly inspired young people to say that they’re going to get out and vote in the referendum.
Just over half of 18 to 24-year-olds told polling firm ORB that they are planning to vote, compared to 85 percent of those aged over 65.
But young people are overwhelmingly more likely to think the EU is a good thing – 70 percent to 30 percent – while 66 percent of pensioners think the UK should leave the economic and political region.
In order to try to encourage young people turn out, the Britain Stronger In Europe group has chosen young-ish Conservative MP and education minister Samuel Gyimah to lead a youth-focused campaign in the run up to the vote.
Despite the fact that growing numbers of people never make calls on their smartphone, Gyimah believes a quick call to your granny could make the difference between staying in and leaving the EU.
“The way for this campaign to really come alive is to have grandparents talking to their children and grandchildren about the future of this country,” he told the Times.
He dubs those people born between 1970 and 2000 as the ‘easyJet generation’ after the budget airline that has let youngsters post ‘hotdog legs’ pictures from their European getaways in larger volumes than ever before.
They carry everything on their smartphone. Through Facebook they communicate with three times the population of Europe. Boundaries mean something different to them. They can watch a movie on their phone and when they travel to Spain, Italy, Portugal or wherever, they can take their world with them. For them, the very idea that we would be in a situation of re-erecting barriers when they are living in a world where the barriers mean less and less online would be going back to the past. It’s not the future.
As well as memes (like the one above) that definitely miss the point of memes, you can already add a Twitter ribbon to show your support for the campaign, you know, if you want.
But the organization is yet to release plans on how it’s actually going to inspire a generation of people who are largely uninspired by politicians.
Unfortunately the Brexit vote is happening at exactly the same time as Glastonbury Festival, which will drag some 150,000 largely young people into a field in Somerset without phone signal, let alone a polling booth.
➤ Why we should remain in the EU [Samuel Gyimah]