In the few short months since the EU Referendum, we have had many of our fears about leaving the EU confirmed. It seems Theresa May’s Government will opt for a hard Brexit meaning closed UK borders, an end to EU passporting for UK companies, and the removal of current opportunities to travel and work in our neighbouring countries. This week’s Tory Conference has shown that these retrograde steps will be accompanied by xenophobic rhetoric and the impositions of mandatory company lists of foreign workers.
It was against this background that the European parliament’s plenary session on Thursday was set. The parliament discussed and approved plans to give free interrailing tickets to every European on their 18th birthday. This initiative, if successful, will allow young people the experience of European travel and will build bridges around Europe for its young citizens. I am passionate about European citizenship, as both a good in itself and as a tool to strengthen the common market. This initiative is exactly the right move to help young people engage with the European project.
“That young Scots will also miss out on opportunities such as free interrailing is insult to the already debilitating injury of Brexit.”
Unfortunately for young Scots, this will not include them. David Cameron’s desperate attempt to quash the threat of UKIP with the gamble of a referendum has resulted in Brexit. His attempt to placate eurosceptics has resulted in the most right-wing UK Government in decades. If this government is true to its word, the Brexit train will have long left the station before this interrailing scheme is put into place.
In the summer after leaving school, I and many friends took the opportunity to holiday away from our parents and travelled in Europe. After summer, some of my friends went off to European universities and paid the same fees (or, typically, lack of fees) as students from that member state.
“Overnight the Scottish Tories contortionist leader has transformed her right-wing rabble into a band of born-again Brexiteers.”
If Theresa May has her way, young Scots who finish school in 2019 may have to pay for visas for the opportunity to travel in the EU and will have to pay large fees if they wish to study in EU countries. That young Scots will also miss out on opportunities such as free interrailing is insult to the already debilitating injury of Brexit.
It once seemed that Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Tories might be a diluent which would take the edge off Theresa May’s hard Brexit Cabinet but overnight the Scottish Tories’ contortionist leader transformed her right-wing rabble into a band of born-again Brexiteers.
It now falls to Davidson as much as to May to face Scottish teens and tell them what opportunity Brexit will provide to counterbalance the loss of initiatives such as 18th birthday interrailing. They must tell young Scots why their country – that voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU – should follow them down the hard Brexit rabbit hole.
SNP Youth National Communications Officer