Vince Cable warns of 'Brexit jihadis' and mounts scathing attack on anti-EU elderly

Posted On: 
6th August 2017

Anti-EU hardliners could become “Brexit jihadis” if they are denied their vision of Britain outside the bloc, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has warned.

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable
PA Images

In a scathing attack the MP said the elderly had “comprehensively shafted” young people in the UK and were intent on delivering “a world view coloured by nostalgia for an imperial past”.

He took aim at those who believe Brexit must be delivered at any cost - even to their own livelihoods - in a fiery article for the Mail on Sunday.

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According to a recent YouGov poll some 61% of Brexit-backers believe significant damage to the British finances would be a “price worth paying” for quitting the EU.

Astonishingly 39% said they would be willing to lose their jobs or for family members to lose their jobs if it meant seeing the EU referendum result delivered.

Sir Vince said: “To describe such masochism as 'martyrdom' is dangerous. We haven't yet heard about 'Brexit jihadis' but there is an undercurrent of violence in the language which is troubling.”

He added: “The martyrdom of the old comes cheap, since few have jobs to lose. And even if the country were to become poorer, their living standards are largely protected by the 'triple lock' on the state pension and many can rely on occupational, final salary, pensions which are closed to younger people.

“When I joined the Coalition Cabinet in 2010, we took pride in the 'triple lock' to banish the scourge of pensioner poverty. But one of its unintended consequences has been a growing rift between generations.

“Pensioners have suffered relatively little from the aftermath of the financial crisis – unless they were slow to shift savings from banks to shares or property. The burden of austerity has been carried by the working population.

“Young people suffer the additional disadvantage of prohibitive housing costs, growing job insecurity and limited career progression. The old have comprehensively shafted the young.

“And the old have had the last word about Brexit, imposing a world view coloured by nostalgia for an imperial past on a younger generation much more comfortable with modern Europe.”