By Ellie Fox
Two-thirds of 18-24 year olds failed to exercise their right to vote in the EU referendum last year – and it has been argued that there wasn’t enough unbiased material at their fingertips. Their news feeds were congested with for and against Brexit propaganda which overwhelmed them.
But some young people were central to the argument – among them David Cooper, 19-year-old Brexiteer and owner of the Facebook page: EU I voted leave, www.facebook.com/EUleavevote.
The Wickford teenager has been campaigning for Britain to leave the EU since he was a schoolboy. With the growth of social media, he thought his Facebook page was the perfect platform to engage people with his views and opinions so that he would encourage more people to vote the way he believes is right for the country.
The page still receives a staggering 11 million views a month and discusses prominent issues regarding Brexit.
I meet up with Cooper in his local Costa coffe shop. He says: “Some months we get more views than others, depending on the news available for us to give our readers. The next target is 20 million. More is never enough.”
The impressive readership leaves David with £1,600 extra in his pocket each month.
The teenager is currently studying an International certificate in advanced wealth management- a series of exams which will get him on the ladder to working on the financial markets.
“I voted to leave the European Union for four main reasons,” he says. “The first being immigration – we should be able to control who comes into our country on a points based system, similar to what Australia has.
“We should not be discriminating against people from the Commonwealth, for example, who want to come and work here.
“Leaving will also save us £8 billion a year net; we are currently paying £55 million pounds a day to the European Union in membership fees. We do get money back, but they tell us how to spend it, which I find quite outrageous.”
Cooper’s third reason for supporting Brexit is to create our own laws which he feels we lack control of. He says: “I think the UK Parliament and the House of Lords should be the only ones creating the laws, not elected bureaucrats or commissioners in Brussels.
“The final reason is trade, we don’t have the opportunity to create trade deals outside of the European Union. Switzerland is not in the European Union and it has trade deals with China, India etc and exports far more than we do.”
Of the young people that did vote in the referendum, 75% voted to remain.
EU membership appeals to young people because of freedom of movement between all EU countries; a lot of students from European countries travel to the UK to go to university, and the majority of students spend their summer breaks travelling.
Cooper says: “It seems young people voted remain because they do not understand the sheer power and capability of Great Britain and do not believe we are capable of surviving outside of the EU. We are a member of the G7 and the G20, and the reason more older people voted to leave is because they remember how great life was before we entered membership with the EU.”
Many students are keen to attend protests to demand protection of their European Union rights. The next scheduled one is tomorrow, with an estimated turnout of 16,000-18,000 people.
Hashtags such as ‘#notinmyname’ have also been used on Twitter by young people repelling against May triggering article 50.
Cooper says: “I think the upcoming protest will achieve absolutely nothing. The decision has been made and it is merely time wasting.”