LONDON — Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has accused over-65s who voted for Brexit of being “self-declared martyrs” in a Mail on Sunday article.
Cable, who was appointed leader of the Lib Dems last month, writes that Britain’s older generation “completely shafted the young” when 64% of them voted for Britain to leave the European Union in June last year. In comparison, 71% of under-25s voted Remain.
“The old have comprehensively shafted the young,” the MP for Twickenham says.
“And the old have had the last word about Brexit, imposing a world view coloured by nostalgia for an imperial past on a younger generation much more comfortable with modern Europe.”
In his article, Cable highlights the generational divide the referendum made clear, and how he was “struck by the heavily Remain sentiment in colleges and schools, and the heavily Brexit mood of church-hall meetings packed with retired people.”
While young people will now be faced with being unable to buy property, growing job insecurity, and limited career progression, older people have relatively less to lose, he claims.
He also expresses concern about the “violence” of some language that has been used to discuss Brexit.
“We haven’t yet heard about ‘Brexit jihadis’ but there is an undercurrent of violence in the language which is troubling,” he writes. “We have already had the most fervent of Brexiteers, such as Nigel Farage, warning of civil unrest if the ‘will of the people’ is frustrated.”
Last month, Cable told Business Insider that Britain may opt to stay in the EU despite the result of the referendum.
“We are faced with a stark choice between crashing out of the EU with a no deal or a very bad deal, or on the other hand going back to membership,” he told BI. “That’s why my party argues that we should have a further vote on this. That didn’t resonate with voters at this year’s election. We all know that. It was premature and people thought we were harking back to the last one. But in two years time when it’s very clear what the economic impacts are I think the public will welcome that kind of option.”
When asked if the UK could in fact stay in the EU, Cable added: “It’s certainly a possibility. It’s not yet a probability.”
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