25 Jun 2016

Brexit: What have we done? - young Brits

4:46 pm on 25 June 2016

Brexit - Young people in the UK have turned to social media to vent their anger and despair at a vote they see as cutting them off from Europe.

Protestors outside Downing Street after Britain voted to leave the EU.

Protestors outside Downing Street after Britain voted to leave the EU. Photo: AFP

Some resent the fact that something that will affect them for decades has been decided by a majority of older voters.

As the result of the EU referendum became clear, the poll's divisive effects across the generations became highly visible online.

Some of the most visceral reaction to the Leave vote came under two related hashtags: "Not in my name" and "What have we done" shot into Twitter's top trends list yesterday and were used more than 20,000 times combined.

Twitter's demographic is much younger than the UK's population as a whole.

Pre-vote polls indicated that young people were more likely to vote Remain, so many commenters using the hashtags were decrying the result.

A graph showing Leave voters by age and political preference.

A graph showing Leave voters by age and political preference. Photo: Supplied: YouGov

Other than anger, a common theme was frustration among 16- and 17-year-olds, who were not allowed to vote in the poll.

Last year an initiative backed by Labour, the Lib Dems and the Scottish National Party proposed lowering the voting age to 16, but the government rejected the idea on the grounds of cost, and it was voted down.

"I love waking up to be completely terrified about something that's going to affect me yet i had no say in it," mused one teenager.

Another said "Don't you dare tell me this (is) 'our' independence day when 75% of 16-18 year olds would've voted remain"

For those who have grown up being part of a wider Europe, the prospect of change is frightening, not only in terms of what it means for their political and economic future, but also the loss of freedom of travel and easy access to goods and services from the continent.

The hashtags were dominated by Remain supporters, although some pro-Leave voters also waded into the debate, with BrexitBulldog saying "Those whining about #NotInMyName are the same pessimists whining about how we can't do it. Well, we can! Confidence and faith trumps fear!"

Thomas the tank engine hits a wall at the end of the Channel Tunnel.

Thomas the tank engine hits a wall at the end of the Channel Tunnel. Photo: Twitter / @brazenhunters

Meanwhile, a parliamentary petition calling for a second referendum has already gained more than 500,000 signatures - and caused the House of Commons website to periodically crash.

The petition called on the British government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60 percent, based on a turnout less than 75 percent, there should be another referendum.

The British Parliament considers all petitions with more than 100,000 signatures.

-BBC

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