CGM blog: Trust the young

Trust the young to call it right.

As post-Brexit stock markets collapsed and panic, indecision and, for many, depression, set in elsewhere – you can always rely on youth to lift you up.

In a subsequent news report, fresh-faced youngsters, dashed by the understandable disappointment of Brexit, showed no anguish, just a cheery determination to use their talent to carry on and make the best of things.

You can easily share their frustration. This was their future on the line – and unsurprisingly most young Britons voted Remain. Having grown up with social media and instant global communication, today’s youth see themselves as citizens of the world (and not just the EU) and don’t readily recognise the confines of national boundaries.

The same news report cut to older folks in Essex where an uglier England emerged. Brexit here wasn’t about the EU, trade or economics – more ‘England for the English’, immigration rather than migration, us not them.

By contrast, the young offer a positive vision. They aspire to be change makers, don’t set limited ambitions and have the ability to embrace change and engage with the wider world.

It’s happening the world over. In China, the government’s crude attempt to censor the internet, the so-called ‘great firewall of China’, is scoffed at by China’s youth. Don’t hold back the tide – live with it.

Rather than being little Englanders we need to feed off this enthusiasm and channel positive energy to be proactive, do good and create a better world. It’s our heritage and also in our genes.

The likes of Nigel Farage may yearn for mythical 1950s lost Britain of warm beer, jam sandwiches and picnics in the country – but the reality is Britain was forged on a tougher terrain of innovation and invention – not only fire, coal, steel but also fine art and popular culture.

Take music. Since 1960s Britain has rocked the world – The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Bowie, The Clash, Two Tone, gender-bending New Romanticism, The Smiths, Band Aid, Live Aid, Madchester, Brit Pop, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay – and I’d wager will continue to do so. It’s enough to make you spill your warm beer. Imagine all the people…

Sadly, for many, the Brexit referendum had less to do with the EU, more pent up anger with the modern world.

There was a blood lust for all things touchy-feely – with no truck for a ‘new kind of politics’, being ‘all in it together’ or preserving unions of any kind – European, British or trade.

So what’s inside the hornet’s nest? A steep rise in hate crime for starters, the perpetrators presumably believing they have legitimacy.

Indeed, the odds on politicians inspiring unity look slim. A bitter battle will ensue for leadership of the Conservative party – while the Labour Party looks to be a busted flush – not just because of Jeremy Corbyn’s intransigence or navel gazing internal politicking but because swathes of its former working class core now form an underclass stuck in a generational benefit culture and lack any semblance of class consciousness or thoughts on society, social justice or liberalism (small ‘l’).

Scotland will, understandably, seek to go its own way. Brexiteers will gleefully wave them and the Irish goodbye. England for the English, right? Messy divorces ahead, me thinks.

You may say I’m a dreamer… but the answer – and hope – will come from the young. There have always been great young people and always will. We must trust the young to create their solutions to their future. We must believe in them, have faith in them and provide opportunities for their talent to flourish.

At Chris Green Media we’re firmly putting our faith in young people. We’ll be offering opportunities for young people to learn the skills we’ve developed so they can create their own futures.

Our plans will emerge in good time – but our commitment is firm. Nothing matters more.

We must trust the young.

Chris Green is managing partner of Chris Green Media – an all round communications collective providing  communications coaching, media training and media services delivered by a stellar team of media and communications experts.