One-Quarter of UK is Invisible in Brexit



Image: Creative Commons, Source:

Globally and nationally the most important decisions are taken without the most important constituency, children. Entire world has been in the grip of a frenzy about Brexit. Electronic Media, print columnists, social media everybody is going crazy about discussing the fate of Britain post Brexit referendum and the impact of same on the global and national economies but have the children been provided platforms to express themselves on this issue. It is the children who will bear the effects of result of referendum in the years to come. About quarter of the total population of UK, one-fifth of EU and one-third of global population is less than 18 years old but unfortunately this sizable chunk of humanity hardly has any say in this decision.

While proposals to extend the vote to 16 and 17 year olds were defeated in the House of Lords in December 2015, they reignited debate over the substance and scope of children’s democratic participation and their capacity to make informed political decisions[1]. Let alone providing them an opportunity to express there has been a conspicuous absence of the discussion of impact of Brexit on children.

Denying a voice to children in important decisions of life is not a new phenomenon. Almost all the decisions of our political, social, economic and environmental lives are taken by that category of human beings called ADULTS. Irony is that even the decisions about children are taken by adults. In many cultural settings especially in Asia the decisions like which toy a child wants to play with, which school she wants to go to, which subject she wants to study, which career she wants to pursue are the choices that in majority of instances are made by the adults.

We take our decisions as if children do not exist as if they are invisible. There are doubts if there have been sincere efforts to reach out to children on Brexit issue, if their voices have been captured after explaining to them what this referendum is all about and how it might impact them and larger society. Though children are not allowed to vote but it would have been good if children were informed about the entire issue of Brexit and their voice could be heard. Children’s voice could be shared with the adults to make them understand how their votes will affect children and what is it that they want.

Though the children are not allowed to vote but there is need to identify ways of incorporating the voices of children in important decisions affecting our collective lives. Consultations with children from diverse backgrounds can be one such mechanism.

World will become a much better place to live and our decisions will be much more humane if we can provide platforms to children to express themselves and  lend our ears to listen to them about the  kind of world children want for themselves and for the society.

[1] Not seen, not heard: the implications of Brexit for children by Helen Stalford Accessed on 24th june 2016 at


Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of author in the private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of employer.


About farrukh2016

Farrukh Shah is a passionate knowledge management professional in development sector. He loves to read and write on development issues. He believes in the power of knowledge and action to bring a lasting change in the lives of most vulnerable among us.
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