Vote for Brexit highlights generational divide


As Britain took a step into the unknown with its historic vote to leave the EU, a picture of a generational divide emerged.

It was those who may have to live with the consequences the longest who seemed most disappointed with the result.

According to a YouGov poll, the youngest of the electorate voted overwhelmingly to Remain, while it was older voters who were most keen on Brexit.

The survey, conducted after voting closed, found 75% of those aged between 18 and 24 voted to remain in the EU.

Some 56% of voters aged between 25 and 49 voted for Remain, but the figure dropped to 44% for 50 to 64-year-olds and just 39% for the over-65s, according to the poll.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron described the result as a "great injustice to future generations".

"Their future has been taken away by older generations," he said, in a speech following the result.

"What a tragedy that older voters, the people who have been able to benefit from European integration, have removed the opportunity for those coming behind them."

But those who emerged victorious from the country's momentous decision sought to reassure those on the losing side.

In his victory speech at Vote Leave headquarters, Boris Johnson said: "I want to speak directly to the millions of people who did not vote for this outcome, especially young people, who may feel that this decision involves somehow pulling up the drawbridge, because I think the very opposite is true.

"We cannot turn our backs on Europe, we are part of Europe, our children and our grandchildren will continue to have a wonderful future as Europeans.

"It is the essence of our case that young people in this country can look forward to a more secure and more prosperous future, if we take back the democratic control."

A poll carried out for The Times at Glastonbury music festival found 78% had voted before setting off, with 83% of those surveyed saying they backed Remain and just 16% supporting Brexit.

As festivalgoers came to terms with the news on Friday morning, Damon Albarn took to the Pyramid stage to perform with The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians.

"I have a very heavy heart today," he told the crowd. "Because to my mind, democracy has failed us. Democracy has failed us because it was ill-informed."

Other celebrities took to Twitter on Friday to voice their anger at the result and add fuel to the generational divide.

Comedian James Corden wrote: "I can't get my head around what's happening in Britain. I'm so sorry to the youth of Britain. I fear you've been let down today x."

Former England footballer Gary Lineker said on the social network: "Feel ashamed of my generation. We've let down our children and their children."

Young people demonstrating outside the gates of Downing Street at the result said they had been "robbed" of their futures.

Barman Richie Xavier, 21, said: "In a way I don't feel it is right for the old people to speak for us. Not to be insensitive, but we have a lot longer to go than they do. So I do feel a little bit robbed of my future today."

Paddy Baker, 21, said: "This vote was too close to go through. Older people voted for this, but we are the ones who are going to feel the ramifications. I am going to feel the ramifications for the rest of my life.

"It was a real shame that the 16 and 17-year-olds were not allowed to vote, as they were in the Scottish referendum."