London: In the famous Speaker’s Corner in the iconic Hyde Park at the heart of London, Matthew Palmer, a Brexit supporter, is often seen telling stories of doom and mayhem caused by immigrants to those willing to listen. For years, immigrants from across the channel were considered Britain’s kith and kin but now UK through a referendum decides if it wants to honour that relationship or sever all ties. Palmer, a retiree, has been a passionate advocate for over 40 years of various causes that are "British".

Matthew Palmer convinces people for ‘Vote Leave’ at Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park
Matthew Palmer convinces people for ‘Vote Leave’ at Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park

‘Aged out’
His toughest debaters — a group of youngsters who refuse to accept his stories. "You can’t stand there and tell people that apocalypse is coming if we stay in. You are asking people to make a decision that will affect our entire life on the basis of lies, lies and more lies," shouted Jacob Warringeytle, a 19-year-old British national with European parentage.

Jacob Warringeytle
Jacob Warringeytle

Mathew often got into verbal scuffles with youngsters like Jacob. "You don’t know anything. Shoo... go do your homework, read articles on your computer and come back," he said dismissing him.

Matthew’s main reason to support Brexit is, "sovereignty" he says. "These youngsters want to be in the EU as all they see are cheap flights to Spain."

Nicola, Ethan and Katie
Nicola, Ethan and Katie

18-year-old Nicola Azzopardi from Malta would have none of it. "All those who want Brexit are older, rigid people. It’s infuriating!" Nicola, who is studying drama at Mount View Theatre School in London, has a special right of voting in the referendum as Malta is also a part of the Commonwealth. A vote she promises to use wisely.

Ethan Hockley–Webster, a British student is furious with Palmer. "His views are so dated, it’s disgusting. People like him think we are fools who don’t understand anything."

"By shutting the doors to EU citizens we are also giving them an opportunity to shut us out of EU. We are artists, we need to travel, explore new avenues," said Katie Cresswell, another British student with family across EU.

While the debate has seen Brexit campaigners attach labels to EU nationals that often border on cruelty, the 2.5 million EU nationals in UK are nothing more than muted spectators without the right to vote, without the power to influence their fate.