Thursday 12-05-2016 - 11:23
Middlesex University Students' Union has been campaigning hard on the EU referendum. Vice presidents Ekaterina Dragomirova and Joe Cox tell us how.
When the government first announced the date for the referendum, we weren’t entirely sure how to react. Our first instinct was to join up to an established campaign. We quickly realised, however, to engage students we needed something different; we needed energy and positivity, a sense of innovation that was not coming from the main IN campaigns. So how did we solve this? We started our own.
Don’t EU Leave Me Now is our response to the need for a more positive campaign for staying in the European Union. We began, and are running this campaign to engage a whole electorate that would otherwise be ignored. From an innovative social media campaign to a literature strategy that involves delivering postcards to households all over Britain, carrying messages of positivity from many EU countries (which you can see at www.donteuleave.com), we have begun something that has refreshed this debate, especially for students.
But despite all of the positive work that we do, we have faced challenges at every step. The most prominent among these is the apathy from young voters, and the inability of the government to help tackle this issue.
Is the government scared of our votes? If not, then why has it made the procedure of registering to vote so long? Why is it systematically trying to stop young people getting involved into politics? Our opinions as students are powerful and we must ensure that we are being heard. Let’s unite and stand up for ourselves and our movement.
We saw how our maintenance grants were scrapped. We are seeing how NHS is being privatised. We witnessed how weak countries are being turned to ashes. We cannot let them take the EU from us, and more so, the EU provides us with a vessel to right these wrongs.
For students especially, the EU has provided so much. It gives students the opportunity to study abroad, as 15,000 UK students do, and 1 in 3 exchange programme students will end up with a job afterwards. It also provides us with the opportunity to live in other EU countries, as 1.4 million Brits have chosen to. For students who want to travel, they can cross borders easily, without the need for a visa, and our roaming charges are even capped while we’re there. The EU also gives students up and down the country the opportunity to learn alongside students from other EU states, which is a life skill like no other.
There has been a strong economic partnership being slowly and steadily built for the past 70 years. As a member of the EU, employability has risen and workers’ feel more protected by mutually established EU workers’ rights laws. Many EU countries invest in Britain and many British invest in the EU, whether if its businesses, properties or tourism.
But, on top of all this, why should students vote? Well the answer to that is simple; to break the cycle of apathy. As long as politicians offer nothing to students, then students won’t vote. As long as students don’t vote, politicians won’t offer anything to us. If we, as a student body, turn out to vote to remain on 23 June, as much for our own benefit as everyone else’s, then we can prove to Westminster parties that we are a powerful voting force, and if we can prove that to them, watch how quickly policy will begin to work for us.
So for all these reasons, and for many more, we implore you to go out on 23 June and vote ‘Remain’ to keep Britain as a member of the European Union.
Vice President of Business & Law
Middlesex University Students’ Union
Vice President of Art & Design, Media & Performing Arts
Middlesex University Students’ Union