In or out? Manchester’s young voters on the EU referendum

With the EU referendum almost upon us, the result is still too close to call. But it could all depend on the turnout of Britain's young voters. According to the Electoral Reform Society, the more young people vote, the more likely Britain is to stay in the European Union. So for the third in our series of articles on the EU referendum, Miles Casey spoke to fellow young voters to find out what they think about the EU and the quality of the debate. What he found was a wide range of strongly held views and a deep disappointment in the way the politicians and the media have presented the issues.

Carl Bridge, 24, Articulated Dump Truck Driver, Chorley


The ability to cross borders without having to apply for visas is important because that makes the EU a place where people of all cultures can mingle and get work experience Also, the strength of the single trade makes EU products more accessible and cheaper than goods from outside the EU, doesn’t it? 

NQ: Was there anything on the other side that might have possibly persuaded you to vote the other way?

CB: Erm, the chance to control our own economy and assist our own businesses.

Kaia Williams, 23, Model Architect, Bolton


The main reason is because my family are voting to leave. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert, or to have done enough research to properly justify my decision. I feel there’s been a lot of propaganda in the media on both sides and a lack of actual facts. I reckon this has been done on purpose to confuse voters leaving them easier to influence.

The Brexit vote sadly seems to have been hijacked by right wing racists whose sole concern seems to be immigration. There’s lots of other reasons to vote leave that are being overlooked because of this.

If I’m being completely honest, I was undecided for a long time, and I still am even now. The fact that the current government, who I don't trust from previous events, has gone to such lengths to rubbish the Brexit campaign, associate it with racism and scare people into voting remain has actually caused me to feel suspicious and made me vote the other way.

Miraj Abdullah, 23, Aerospace engineer, Bolton


The main reason is that the economic benefits well outweigh the costs it brings. I think many people, Brexiters, don't realise that the money put in is an investment, rather than a payment. I think the misconception is that, oh, 'we pay X amount and get half of X back and nothing else.' I reckon the real benefits come as trade and investment into the UK

Both campaigns have been awful and full of fear mongering. My decision has been made purely of my own volition.

But there are many valid points in the Leave side. I feel we'd be stronger to reject TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – NQ) if we left the EU. That's probably the biggest reason. But at this point both arguments, in public, have become farcical. 

Michael Alston, 23, Senior Test Analyst (Chorley):


Our country shouldn't be governed by decisions made by Europe when we only have one representative. I believe it'll help to lower house prices and give youth a chance to get onto the market. Also, look at Norway and Switzerland! You can see how well these countries do. One thing that winds me up is the scare tactics our government are using to try and keep us in the EU.

But I have no problem with immigration. I believe everyone should be given a chance to better their lives. But then again, controls on this are too loose – allowing criminals and unskilled people into our country that come to sit on benefits. I think we should be more like Australia, but then again, I do also disagree with the way they treat immigrants. Detention centres are not the way forward. It's inhumane, and I think a long term strategy needs to be put in place by our government if we do leave the EU.

Benjamin Monks, 22, Paralegal, Bolton


Because I feel it is in our best interest! We have a greater say in the future of our world if we are part of it. Without question, the EU has many substantial flaws – like it’s overly bureaucratic and perhaps too focused on a political agenda of expansion – but we can’t change this if we leave. As Gordon Brown said, "Lead not leave."

I have been thoroughly disappointed by both campaigns during this referendum debate. Both sides seem eager to terrify the electorate into voting their way. What did influence my vote was my prior knowledge about the EU and the use of ‘independent’ sources to try and determine what would happen if the vote were to go either way.  I feel one of the greatest issues of both campaigns is the sheer volume of information being shared and the contradictory figures being released. This, I reckon, is preventing people from making an informed decision and is the fault of both campaigns.

Jake Whitby, 23, Business Director, Bury


I am voting this way against my better judgement. One of my big political influencers is Noam Chomsky, who often tells people that when given the choice between independence and remaining part of a bigger political landscape, to choose independence, as centralised power rarely works in favour of the masses.
However, it is because of centralised power that I’m going to vote Remain. I fear the idea of a bigoted little island being run by selfish Tories with even more selfish agendas. I feel if we leave, we will be viewed universally as a nation built around prejudice.

If the Leave campaign was headed by someone like, you know, Corbyn for a socialist UK founded on principles of helping one another, then I would have joined that movement for better or worse. Hope, positive hope, is essential.

David McDowell, 23, Graduate Sales Executive, Manchester


European co-operation emerged out of one of the worst atrocities in human history and I believe our current compromise is something to be proud of. For me, the financial argument for the Remain campaign has been far stronger, and I reckon time spent renegotiating and improving the EU from the inside is going to be far more productive than two years of uncertainty during Brexit talks. British workers also benefit from EU agreements on workers’ rights, fought for by Labour, including the right to: holiday pay, paid maternity and paternity leave, erm, anti-discrimination laws, equal pay and protection for agency workers, right? Leaving would allow this, or a future, government to cut back on employment, social and environmental protections, as they have throughout their time in office.

For me, both campaigns have been surrounded by a lot of noise and not enough facts and relevant information.