Campaigns

Every generation votes in their own interest. But in an ageing world, that’s a problem

A majority of pensioners voted for Brexit, but less than a fifth of 18-24 year-old voters did. How does age influence voting decisions in referenda? As direct democracy becomes more and more popular, Gabriel Ahlfeldt and his co-authors analysed voting patterns among different generations and found people tend to vote in their own interests – which, when the costs are short-term and […]

Thinking harder: how we could do referendums differently

A single vote will take us out of the EU, quite possibly without Parliament’s explicit consent. Davina Cooper asks whether a referendum based purely on individual Leave/Remain votes was the best we can do – or whether a more deliberative system, which would demand more engagement from the public, could produce a more considered outcome.

A fight has been raging since Brexit over […]

  • vote leave
    Permalink Some of Vote Leave's 'outreach groups', which were active on social media. Public domainGallery

    From a bang to a whisper: the decline in Brexit-related discussion on social media

From a bang to a whisper: the decline in Brexit-related discussion on social media

By 23 June, Vote Leave had 620.9k followers across its social media platforms, versus Stronger In’s 595.8k – or 51% versus 49%, not too dissimilar from the final result. Andre van Loon, Research & Insight Director at social media agency We Are Social, discusses the divergent social media strategies adopted during the referendum campaign. He adds that the fall-off […]

  • pro-EU protest
    Permalink A pro-EU protest in Parliament Square after the referendum, July 2016. Photo: <a href=Ben Scicluna via a <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/".C-BY-NC 2.0 licence" />Gallery

    Don’t blame the worse-off for Brexit. Plenty of Britain’s ‘liberal elite’ backed it too

Don’t blame the worse-off for Brexit. Plenty of Britain’s ‘liberal elite’ backed it too

Brexit can’t simply be written off as a protest vote by worse-off, older and less educated voters, writes Piers Ludlow. Plenty of the so-called ‘liberal metropolitan elite’ – politicians like Boris Johnson, business leaders and journalists – also called for Britain to leave the EU. The dwindling number of pro-Europeans testifies to growing disillusionment with the European Union among […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Isaiah Berlin and Brexit: how the Leave campaign misunderstood “freedom”

Isaiah Berlin and Brexit: how the Leave campaign misunderstood “freedom”

The Leave campaign’s understanding of “freedom” as the absence of external constraints was one-sided, writes Alexis Papazoglou. The UK has autonomously decided to be bound by EU rules and so compliance with those rules has not made it a less autonomous country. Similarly, the freedoms that the UK gains from being an EU member are greater than those it is going […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    During the EU referendum voters were being distracted from an important issue: neoliberalism

During the EU referendum voters were being distracted from an important issue: neoliberalism

Neoliberal policymaking is behind many of the problems facing young people in the UK and across the EU, including debt, job insecurity, and housing. Yet discussions about structural issues had been excluded from the referendum debate, argues Laura Cartwright, and so voters missed the bigger picture of what causes these problems. Without an understanding of what keeps young people […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Brexit is not the will of the British people – it never has been

Brexit is not the will of the British people – it never has been

The referendum vote for Brexit was clear: the electorate was 46,501,241, Leave was 17,410,742 and Remain was 16,141,241. The UK public actually did not, does not and will not want a Brexit in the foreseeable future. Adrian Low makes this argument by analysing the post-referendum polls and demographic trends.

The difference between leave and remain was 3.8 percent or 1.3 million in favour […]

‘I want my country back’: the resurgence of English nationalism

The three phases of Brexit – campaign, referendum, aftermath – have revealed three urgent problems, writes Russell Foster: the lack of public faith in establishment politics, the emotional deficit of the EU, and the return of English nationalism. All three stages have been characterised by contempt, anger and despair unseen in recent British politics and the referendum was thus fought […]

The people have spoken. Or have they? Doing referendums differently after the EU vote

Referendums have become a central feature of our politics, writes Will Brett. In this extract from the Electoral Reform Society’s report on the lessons learned from the Brexit vote, he sets out the shortcomings of the EU referendum and proposes how to improve the quality of debate next time – including intervention when campaigners make misleading claims, a ‘toolkit’ for […]

  • Permalink Cornish FlagGallery

    It’s not the economy, stupid: the Leave vote was driven by values

It’s not the economy, stupid: the Leave vote was driven by values

The story of the referendum is usually told through geography: areas that had been left behind by globalisation voted to Leave. But this tells us only so much, writes Eric Kaufmann. Knowing where Leave voters live does not, in itself, explain why individuals chose to vote a certain way. Here, he demonstrates the importance of invisible differences between groups, […]