It took a teenager to speak truth to power about Brexit on BBC’s Question Time

Fréa Lockley

Theresa May and the government have pushed the UK even further into Brexit chaos. But on 21 March, young people spoke more eloquently about the situation on BBC‘s Question Time (BBCQT) than most politicians have for months, if not years. Their voices rang clear and true above politicians’ current noise and confusion.

Truth bomb

This episode of BBCQT came from Belfast. One sixteen-year-old stood out. She said of the current mess:

This goes back much further… It goes back much further than any of you have said… to when the plans for the referendum were first announced… to David Cameron trying to negotiate in the EU. David Cameron made the referendum policy because he didn’t want to risk losing 10 or 15 seats to UKIP. And look where it’s got us. This has always been because of the Tory party playing party politics with issues that are going to be huge generational changes for all of us.

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And she’s absolutely spot on. Even though May recently blamed everyone but herself for the chaos, we got here because of Conservative Party policy and infighting. And she didn’t stop there

I’m sixteen years old. I didn’t get a say in Brexit and I won’t get a say in it because there is not going to be a second referendum, as things stand. But either way, I think what we have to face is that this is not an issue of parties not coming together… What we need to look at is the fact that this is all caused by a party putting itself first before the country it is trying to govern.

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Truth to power

Unlike many politicians, this young person also offered a clearly framed solution. She explained that what’s needed is not to “look back to a people’s vote” but to look forward to “a further extension”. And then she truly nailed it, saying that the solution comes:

From where it all should have started… by going back to a general election and representative democracy because that’s what this country was built on.

Many people celebrated her composure and clarity on social media:

Many people also noted that she made “more sense than any politician in the past two years” and can “teach the government a thing or two”.

Are you listening?

And she wasn’t the only young person speaking truth to power. Another audience member said that “the people clapping [for] no deal” in the audience “should be ashamed”. She also explained that:

The only people pushing for a second referendum are people who already voted for that in the first place… what’s changed? What we need instead is a general election… Let the parties put their policies back out there, tell them what their Brexit policy is.

Compared with the normal BBCQT fodder of bickering, self-important (apparent) adults, these young people were a breath of fresh air.

May and other MPs ignore these young people at their peril because many people in the UK agree with them. And importantly, when this generation comes to power, they deserve more than an almighty mess to clear up: we owe them a future.

Featured images via BBC/Wikimedia and screengrab

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  • Show Comments
    1. She’s right about Cameron and the Tories. Where is he by the way??
      But there are plenty who would disagree and say the priority is another referendum and not a general election. Let’s see how many turn out for the March today.

    2. She spoke the truth but it doesn’t mean power understands her respect for the populace being able to think clearly, let alone speak it. To go back even further to 1797 is the quote
      ” When I come into this House [ political assembly] it appears to me as if I came into an Asembly where a number of persons had been struck by a paralytick affection , which palsiies all their limbs, cripples their energies, and powers of action. amd leaves nothing free and vigorous about them but their tongues”
      This “politic” it seems has been going on for awhile.
      May we hear more, good, articulate news from the young of what it means to be alive in today’s world!

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