It was an early summer’s morning when the nation woke up on June 24 to the news that Britain had voted by 52-48% to leave the European Union.
Some were ecstatic, others frustrated, but everyone agreed that something felt different.
In a country now divided by class, region and age, to say that people felt uncertainty was an understatement.
Under 25s, who voted overwhelmingly to remain by 75%, were caught in the middle.
They were angry at an older generation serving up a result that they didn’t vote for and with their future now left in limbo, it was easy to feel the need to pack your bags and move to the nearest continent.
But how do you unite a nation that is so divided?
Give young people a platform to take control of their future.
On October 26, Undivided, a youth-led non-partisan campaign that is pushing for a better Brexit, launched in London.
After extensive research, they couldn’t find a movement that was putting young people’s interests first.
They saw a gap in the market for a campaign holding the Tory Brexit government to account that was for, and by, young people.
Rahma Hussein, Undivided’s co-leader for media and PR, told Artefact that they knew young people would be the most disillusioned with the outcome.
And she’s not wrong.
Shortly after Brexit, an online petition was demanding for a second referendum, and people were attending protests and were still largely reeling from the result.
“One of the main things is to accept that Brexit has happened,” says Hussein. “We’re not calling for another referendum, that’s undemocratic.”
“Right now, all you can do is show something good can come out of Brexit negotiations because it’s completely possible”, she adds.
The campaign stresses that they never claimed to be pro or anti-EU and they are never going to be: “That’s not our point, all we want is to get the best possible deal for young people,” she adds.
— Undivided (@weareundivided) October 30, 2016
With a team of 30, there are people from a number of different backgrounds working on the campaign. From “remainers” to “leavers” and to those that didn’t have the chance to vote, Undivided appears more united than British politics and the people that govern us.
“We all want the same thing, which is a united nation and for young people to be heard,” Hussein says. “We are called Undivided and need to be undivided in our messages.”
And getting involved is easy.
Go on their website and submit your demand.
It’s that simple.
It can be anything from wanting to keep the NHS free and funded to being able to live, study and work abroad and to eradicating hate crime and Islamophobia.
Britain’s future can be bright if young people are willing to raise their voices and make the best of the situation.
“The whole point is to get the message out there,” she says. “Young people are here and they need to be heard.”
Once they have enough demands, they will put together a list of the top ten, which young people will vote for, and then they will be lobbying the politicians involved in Brexit negotiations: from David Davis and Liam Fox to Prime Minister Theresa May.
Despite launching in the capital, they are not a London-centric campaign.
Everyone agreed that something felt different.
By using language that everyone would understand rather than the jargon that littered the news in the run-up to the referendum and by starting on a digital platform, their aim is to make it accessible to everyone in order to extend to the whole of the UK.
With the ambitious goal of collecting the views of a million young voices, it will be hard for the government to ignore them, especially considering this generation will be living with the outcome the longest.
“The key to a successful Brexit is listening to people,” says Hussein.
No one really knows what Brexit actually means at the moment, so it’s important for politicians to listen to the concerns that the public has – whether they voted leave or remain.
They will be, after all, negotiating on the nation’s behalf, and not just the elite few.
With a record turnout compared to any other election, young people were going against the stereotype that they are apathetic to politics.
To ignore young people now would be a mistake.
People may be quick to criticise young people and question whether they can be taken seriously or even be allowed to make monumental decisions, but Hussein points out that it is this kind of attitude that puts off young people from getting involved in politics, adding that this needs to change.
If you’re under 30, visit weareundivided.co.uk and get involved, and there’s more about Undivided in our audio interview:
Featured image courtesy of Undivided.