Glastonbury Brexit debate: “Young people can decide elections now.”

Bombay Bicycle Club guitarist Jamie MacColl spoke on a panel discussing the UK’s future, post-Brexit

To mark the 1 year anniversary of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, Glastonbury today (June 23) hosted a ‘Brexit – One Year On’ panel.

Taking place in the festival’s Leftfield Tent, Bombay Bicycle Club guitarist Jamie MacColl was among the speakers discussing the country’s future. He was joined by anti-racism campaigner Angelica Udueni, Labour MEP Seb Dance and co-founder of Scotland’s Radical Independence Campaign, Cat Boyd.

Since Bombay Bicycle Club’s hiatus in 2016, MacColl has co-founded the campaigning group UnDivided, which aims to protect the interests of young people in Brexit negotiations. In the wake of this month’s general election, which saw youth turnout at its highest in 25 years, he claimed: “Young people can decide elections now. They are much more interested in politics than they were 18 months ago.”

MacColl doesn’t have high hopes for the country’s negotiation tactics. “We’re sending five idiots against the intellectual might of Europe,” he said, adding: “Realism has broken through. We’ve realised our negotiating position is not nearly as strong as we thought it would be. We need the government to be honest and to lower people’s expectations. Otherwise when we get a deal, a large portion of the population won’t get what they were promised. I’m worried where that anger will be directed to.”

Seb Dance, who represents London in the European Parliament, said last year’s result pointed to a country deeply split in opinion. “We have a country that is very much divided. There has been very little attempt from the government to heal those divisions. Those who had credible reasons to leave allied themselves with the far right, and that’s unacceptable. It exploited the divisions in this country.”

Tomorrow (June 24), Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is set to make an appearance at Glastonbury. Following a surge in popularity and making huge gains in the 2017 general election last week, Corbyn will be speaking on the Pyramid Stage before Run The Jewels perform at 4.15pm on the Saturday – as well as speaking on the Leftfield stage that day.