To get the Brexit result they want, both the young and old are willing to make the other side poorer

Worlds apart.
Worlds apart.
Image: Reuters/Dylan Martinez
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The young and the old are fighting for two radically different visions of the UK. And both sides are willing to financially sabotage each other to get the outcome they want.

That’s according to the results of a new survey, which had over 3,000 participants, carried out by YouGov and The Challenge on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Integration. The data was part of the UK government committee’s new report into intergenerational integration and what divides Britain today.

When Brits who voted to leave the European Union (EU), aged 55 and over, were asked if they agreed with the following statement—“I would accept lower wages for the next generation if it guaranteed leaving the EU”—a sizable chunk said yes (26%). Most (38%) didn’t agree or disagree with the statement, while 30% disagreed.

Young Brits weren’t much kinder. When Brits aged 18-34, who voted to remain in the EU, were asked if they agreed with the following statement—“I would reduce pensions for retired people if it meant stopping Brexit”—most (38%) disagreed. But, again, nearly a third (28%) said yes and 16% said they neither agreed or disagreed.

The report, titled “Ages Apart? Ties and Divides Across the Generations,” doesn’t just note generational differences, it also explores how the young and old can build intergenerational solidarity—and there’s definitely a need for that, right now. The survey showed that the older generation views millennials as being spoilt, while younger people perceived the aged as mostly prejudiced.

When Brexit-supporting Brits, aged 55 and over, were asked if they agreed with the following statement—“every generation should have a higher standard of living than the one that came before it”—49% agreed, while 42% didn’t agree or disagree with the statement. But when they were asked whether they thought—“Young adults have a sense of entitlement and aren’t willing to work hard for a living”—67% agreed.

Meanwhile, when remain voters aged 18-35 were asked if “older people currently have an unfair share of the wealth and income in the UK,” 41% agreed, while 27% didn’t agree or disagree. When asked if older people tend to be more prejudiced against those of different races and sexualities, 73% agreed.

The survey also asked older Brexit voters and younger remain voters whether they felt the other had a self-interested approach to politics, both groups overwhelmingly agreed with the statement.