Brexit ‘Blowtorchers’ make Inroads into Political Awareness
Student's at Trafford College had their say on matters concerning Brexit this month, a vote that many of them were too young to take part in.
Brexit campaigners – famous for blowtorching the Withdrawal Agreement outside the headquarters of the European Council – parked their battle-bus outside one of our college campuses to poll students and staff a month before the UK was scheduled to leave the European Union.
Campaigners Our Future Our Choice have called for a people’s vote – between the Withdrawal Agreement and remain – at a series of rallies across Europe and the UK. When EU leaders met in November 2018 to endorse the divorce deal, OFOC protested by destroying the pact with scissors, a hammer and a blowtorch!
When the bus stopped at Altrincham Campus on February 13, there was clear frustration from many of our students who weren’t old enough to vote at the time of the 2016 European Referendum and were dismayed at the outcome as well as fresh calls to lower the voting age to 16.
Student Ambassador, Marnie England, 16, said her family had been pro-remain ever since the UK held its first referendum on European membership in 1975.
“It’s great Our Future Our Choice actually cares enough to come here. A lot of political parties aren’t targeting young people because we’ve not got the vote, but we need this political education.”
Marnie said she had protested in Westminster before and was prepared to do so again over Brexit.
As part of the OFOC visit, learners were asked for their opinion of a people’s vote, invited to sign up to a WhatsApp lobby group and pen the side of the bus with their signatures.
French A-Level lecturer and former Parisian, Cristina Pinon, chose to write the message, ‘we are European’.
“That is what I have always considered myself, not French, not English, but European,” she said.
OFOC head of communications, Hugo Lucas, said the response from the college had been great.
“We thought it was important to come to a college because we are also pushing for votes for 16 year olds. Trafford College has been very accommodating to our request.”
Whatever the outcome on the date the UK was scheduled to leave Europe on March 29, Trafford College has pledged to work with local businesses and skills standards to support any change in training needs within the local community.