The referendum vote for Brexit was clear: the electorate was 46,501,241 people; 17,410,742 of those voted Leave; and 16,141,241 voted Remain. The 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 of Leave. However, in a close analysis, virtually all the polls show that the UK electorate wants to remain in the EU, and has wanted to remain since referendum day. Moreover, according to predicted demographics, the UK will want to remain in the EU for the foreseeable future.
There have been at least 13 polls since June 23rd which have asked questions similar to ‘Would you vote the same again’ or ‘Was the country right to vote for Brexit’. Eleven of these polls indicate that the majority in the UK do not want Brexit. The poll predictions leading up to the referendum narrowed but a significant majority of late polls indicated that the country wanted to remain. The leader of UKIP even conceded defeat on the night of the vote, presumably because the final polls were convincing that Remain would win.
In fact, according to the first post-referendum poll (Ipsos/Newsnight, 29th June), those who did not vote were, by a ratio of 2:1, Remain supporters. It is well known that polls affect both turnout and voting, particularly when it looks as though a particular result is a foregone conclusion. It seems, according to the post-referendum polls, that this was the case. More Remain than Leave supporters who, for whatever reason, found voting too difficult, chose the easier option not to vote, probably because they believed that Remain would win.
Percentage lead of LEAVE or REMAIN according to the polls post June 23rd
Immediately after the referendum, there was a marked ‘shock’ reaction in the polls against the Leave vote. Some Leave voters had voiced the opinion that they had only voted Leave to give the government a good kicking and they wished they had the opportunity to change their vote. That was reflected in the early polls with the reversal of the Brexit referendum result into double percentage figures. A higher percentage of Leave voters changed their mind to Remain, whilst the Remain voters generally stood firm. Four months on and that has now softened to 90 percent ± 2 percent of both Leave and Remain voters sticking to the guns and the rest of the original voters balancing somewhere between changing their vote or responding that they now don’t know.
What has been largely ignored are the 12.9 million who did not vote. Had the democratic process been that of Australia where voting is compulsory, the polls indicate the result would have been to Remain from day zero, and would still be Remain (see no2brexit.com and businessinsider.com). Of course, there is a criticism of the non-voter but, for various very good reasons, some were reported as simply not able to vote.
Unexpected administrative, personal or employment circumstances disabled some members of the electorate on the day from voting. One Financial Times study pointed out that most university students would generally be encouraged by their university to register to vote in their university town and they may not have realised early enough that they would have to apply for a postal vote given that term would be finished by June 23rd. The non-voters were largely younger voters and all the parties agree that the younger vote was (and still is) far more likely to vote Remain than Leave by a factor of nearly 3:1.
Since the initial shock, the gap in favour of Remain has decreased and, now, stabilised. Only two YouGov polls support a majority in favour of Leave was right, the other eleven polls have all indicated that the will of the UK is that it should remain in the EU. Such unpalatable poll results have been left unreported or occasionally inaccurately reported.
The “What would you vote now” question is being asked less frequently now. As of the middle of October, the polls indicate the continuing preference for Remain. The deciding factor is still amongst those who did not vote, with 41 percent saying that Remain was their preferred option and 26 percent preferring Leave. These figures are very similar to the News-night poll six days after referendum day when the comparative figures for the Remain and Leave non-voters were 35 percent and 19 percent respectively. When the most recent figures are applied to the 12.9 million they provide 1.9 million more Remain supporters which easily overturns the 1.3 million referendum Leave majority. Of course should there be another referendum the previous non-voters might well come out in force because they know what is at stake – but they might not.
By March 2017 when Article 50 is due to be initiated, there will be approximately 563,000 new 18-year-old voters, with approximately a similar number of deaths, the vast majority (83 percent) amongst those over 65. Assuming those who voted stick with their decision and based on the age profile of the referendum result, that, alone, year on year adds more to the Remain majority. A Financial Times model indicated that simply based on that demographic profile, by 2021 the result would be reversed and that will be the case for the foreseeable future.
Finally, two groups, in particular, saw their exclusion from the electorate as undemocratic. According to NUS polls, 75 percent of the 16-18 age group felt they should have had a vote in the UK on Brexit (given its greater long-term implications than a general election vote). The 16-18 age group did have a vote in Scotland on independence and this referendum, many felt, was at least as important. Had the younger vote come out in force there is good evidence to suggest that the referendum result would have been different.
In the second group, members of the Commonwealth (and Eire) who were resident in the UK were able to vote but other members of the EU resident in the UK were not able to vote. All EU residents of Scotland were eligible to vote in the Scottish Referendum but not in the Brexit Referendum. Clearly, if democracy is regarded as allowing those most affected by a decision to have a say in that decision, then this has not happened. With 2.9 million EU residents in the UK, it is likely that the majority would have voted for Remain and that too is likely to have reversed the decision.
So the UK electorate, as a whole, has been consistently against Brexit and the Remain majority will increase year on year. All things being equal Remain will be the choice of the public by the end of 2021 whether the abstaining electorate is counted or not. Those who saw the vote as a protest against poverty are now experiencing the thin end of the wedge of inflation from a falling pound and slow, drip-like movement of multinational companies out of the UK. Some Remain voters have thrown in the towel, accepting what they see as inevitable. The latest YouGov poll suggests that more people in the UK believe Brexit is bad, rather than good for jobs, will result in less influence in the world, is indifferent for the NHS, and will make the UK economy worse. A falling economy is bound to bite and reverse some of the enthusiasm for Leave and the effect of that will simply be to consolidate the trend against Brexit.
Sadly nothing less than a second, fairer referendum could redress the unfairness felt by the exclusion from the electorate of both the 16-18s and the non-UK EU residents. This all paints a very sorry picture of the effectiveness of UK democracy. Brexit is not the will of the people in the UK. It never has been. Had all the people spoken on the day the result would almost certainly be what the pollsters had predicted, and what the UK, according to the polls, still wants, and that is to Remain.
This was first published on the Brexit blog.
Revd. Adrian Low is Emeritus Professor of Computing Education at Staffordshire University and Church of England priest for the Costa del Sol West Chaplaincy in Spain. He is the author of Introductory Computer Vision, Imaging Techniques and Solutions.
Brexit will be good for you an I. Preferably with a no deal. Don’t be fooled by people who profit nicely as they stand and are afraid of change. 49 to 52% means leave to me.
Could not agree more ! My belief is the whole thing is a con ! How can you accept a future nation defining decision to be decided by 2.5 % of voters.
Let’s have a second vote now that people have some idea what they are voting for the future of our wonderful British Isles. Only this time make it compulsory !
Brexit means we lose our European citizenship and remain only subjects of Her Majesty. Citizens of nowhere.
I voted for Brexit.
The majority of people voted to leave.
If the media wasn’t so biased in favour of the eu more people would have voted to leave.
I didn’t vote for political union with Europe nor did the rest of the public but we did vote to leave.
The public is constantly lied to by political elite and the sooner we leave the eu the better.
Every time I here Nigel Farage speak I hear truth and it’s not good for the eu.
One last thing if I had my way it would be law that ALL politicians had to show all financial dealings and earning so we can see why many of you are so keen to stay.
Corruption conflict of interests and undemocratic interesting to hear proof that you are NOT involved
If the corrupt media had told the truth and given equal coverage to leave as what was given by the disgusting BBC to remain the leave vote would have been out of this world bigger.
Also young people have been spoon fed one side of the argument only and we need to look at the freedom of the press and free speech with some urgency.
Love him or Hate him Donald Trump concerns about fake news are correct
However remain voters neednt worry we will be cheated out of brexit I’m sure
It might be enlightening to again read the short letter written last year by Franklin Medhurst, a 96 year old RAF veteran of over 2000 combat hours defending what? Us? Them? Who? Why? Where? When? How? His letter is old news; or is it? Are Franklin Medhurst’s words obsolete? Does anyone care? Why should anyone care what an old man says and thinks and feels? He’s not even 100 years old. But is there a Brexiteer that old? How about Sheila Hancock? She’s a mere 83. What does she know? She’s a wrinkly? Senile? Read old Franklin Medhurst, who doesn’t sound senile at all in any way whatsoever! He has wisdom and foresight that far outreaches the wisdom of most everyone alive in the world today, bar none. Here it is. Read it and weep:
“Don’t abandon the Europe that I fought for – and my comrades died for.
It is helpful to be old, for in my lifetime I have seen world population increase threefold; a stable seasonal climate become wildly unstable with drought, forest fires and floods; the polution by humanity of the planet’s earth, air and waters to a stage where all life is threatened; and violence become a permanent, continuous tragedy in a world of great uncertainty.
“The only stable community in this universal upheaval has been the European Union, formed from the wreckage of a continent for which I and millions of others fought six years of war. I write as a former airman, having flown well over 2,000 hours against three despotic enemy nations. That victory for the democracies has given Europe 70 years of peace and security in a widlely unstable world. The “leave” chancers are campaigning to abandon this steady progress, citing values false or irrelevant, while they have no plan of what to do after jumping ship.
“If the nation should fall for this deceit I can only conclude that the lives of my comrades – Irish, Scots, Welsh and English – were lost in vain. They will be rattling their bones, wherever in the world they fell, at the loss of the beliefs for which they fought.
“Britain in Europe will enhance progress to higher values in the greater world; Britain out means a return to the early-20th-century chaos of warring states against each other.
I am 96. I remember how far we have come. I know what we stand to lose.”
– Franklin Medhurst, DFC (RAF 1939-46)
Remember these words, for they are as prophetic as are the prophetic words of Sarah Hagemann (LSE): “Leaving the EU is a bad decision. It will hit you hard!”
Amen to that.
Austrian citizens living abroad may vote by post in Austrian presidential and parliamentary elections, as well as referendums, for an unlimited time after leaving Austria. They must enrol on a dedicated foreign voters’ register and must renew their registration every ten years.
I live in Austria and am still a British citizen. I was not allowed to vote in any referendum in the UK which effects my status in Austria. I have heard and read so much about bi-lateral agreements between the UK and Austria. There should be an EU law which deals with all EU citizens equally. Why is it then that an Austrian citizen can always vote from outside Austria in any elections and referenda and a British citizen can not? This is not fair and not reciprocal. The over 1 million British citizens living in the EU should have had the right to vote in the EU referendum. One person talks about wisdom as you get older. What about the wisdom gained by travelling and living abroad and seeing a bigger picture and losing the narrow inbred thinking that comes from only living in your own back yard and among your own people and culture and speaking only one language and hearing only that point of view? The EU is a good and progressive idea. We share a common basic culture and history and should go on helping one another and understanding one another and avoid any more armed conflicts which result from distrust and rivalry and feelings of elitism.
your belief in democracy means that people who travel have a more important vote? I thought democracy was about all eligible voters.
I do enjoy reading the opinions of some Remain supporters, nothing funnier than the losing side trying to convince people they really won.
It sems that trivialising a matter is evidence of the lack of perception of brexiteers who think “nothing is funnier than the losing side trying to convince people they really won” in the context of an action with such serious consequences. Pity the 5th Columnist Brexiteers couldn’t have put as much effort in making a success ouf the EU membership as they have devoted to bringing it down
I see the argument about Leave voters dying off and the Remain vote increasing over time. This is wishful thinking. We know that the older you are, the more likely you are to want to leave the EU. If the EU were actually a good thing, then the opposite would be true – longer exposure makes you like the EU ever less. If we expect 18 year olds to carry on loving the EU, why is it that all the other former 18 year olds are now so keen to get out?
The truth is that people grow up and become wiser, this changes their views on many things. When I was a idealistic young student, I thought the Euro sounded like a great idea, thank goodness that older and wiser heads knew better and kept the UK well out of that tragic slow motion car wreck. Looking back now, I can see the younger me was quite wrong. Many of today’s young Remain voters will grow up and realise that they owe a debt of gratitude to those with more life experience who chose to get us out of the EU.
Trump is 71. He’s an old person. He must be very wise according to your logic. Shiela Hancock is in her 80s and a passionate Remainer. War veterans still alive are all passionate Remainers. Your prejudice against humanity and progress is clear. Wise you are not.
The problem is that Brexit is not the will of the British citizens,48.3against 51.7and that have grave consequences,social and political divided,economic and social aggravation.
The train crash off the cliff will happen. The reality of the experience of destruction, which is a form of social suicide brought about by Brexit will be realised in time. Meanwhile, the penny has not dropped. This is very curious and interesting. Why are we so delusional and self-destructive? We just do not know. But we know that it exists. We are experiencing all of this as we go through Brexshit. One day in the future, the suffering and disintegration and destruction of the nation will become evident to more and more individuals. At that point, someone will begin to mention it in terms that are understandable to the suffering masses. I explain it thus: The citizen population has no imagination. Imagination can be taught, but it isn’t regarded as important at all, and so, imagination is ignored. Empathy, compassion are not taught. They should be vitally important to education, both parental and societal. Indeed, parenting is not taught. Worst of all, communication is not taught. Instead, education is merely a political football, nothing more. So, basically, it’s every man, woman and child for him/herself. Future historians will mention our time as a curious time with a nation of imbeciles.
The problem is that Brexit is not the will of the British citizens, and that have grave consequences future coming,divided,economic and social aggravation.
I was prevented from voting because I live outside of the UK despite having a British passport. I am not alone.
The REFERENDUM should have been confined only to those wise enough to know the future consequences by passing a test about REMAINING. Only those who voted REMAIN should be allowed to vote in the SECOND REFERENDUM.
Those who wish to remain could be allowed to pay an EU levy to remain EU citizens to help all the poorer nations like Greece, Portugal, Romania, Bulgaria, and support the 50% Spanish youth unemployment and the Italian Bank debt crisis and the Euro crisis and the EU recession etc. But they would have an EU passport for their holidays etc..
Sounds an excellent, good and very democratic idea. However, in the real world, it could never happen and won’t happen. Without an educated citizenry – and the YUK has paltry few of those enlightened beings. – there’s no chance at all. Any glance at history before the YUK joined the EU shows only too clearly what an impoverished shit hole the nation was. What will be different or better in the world of Brexshit? We are all about to lean the answer and experience it – all except the rich elites, of course. Bring it on and lie down in the bed the imbeciles have made for us all.
I never voted conservative but i did vote leave why is it when the government dont get their way they try to get out of it . If the remain vote had won would we be having a similar discussion about it being unfair i dont think so . Article 50 needs addressing now . The majority won .so stop whining and get on with it . Also if there was a vote to abolish the house of lords i would vote yes .along with a few million others as we are sick of money wasting scroungers who think they can belittle us normal folk
Well, THIS government didn’t try, isn’t trying to get out of it, unless you think that giving up Remain and accepting and implementing all of UKIP Brexwit policies are getting out of it. Either way, Remain or Leave, the referendum was bogus and anti democratic. Why do you and everyone else keep saying that the majority won? Do you call 37% of the voters a majority? Do you call 26% of the YUK population a majority? You sound like Trump’s inauguration had millions of people present, the majority of the USA present, even in face of photographic evidence throughout the entire day. Lies are now truth. Truth is now lies. The Lords are the only part of parliament that had anything near to be called a debate/discussion of Brexit. There was no shouting or bullshit that the Commons displays every day. The Lords, elected or not, are the only ones speaking any sense at all. Scroungers you say? Which one are you specifically referring to? How do you define the word “scrounger”? They are not belitting anyone but they are defending everyone and trying to protect the nation, in spite of the Brexwit imbeciles. You should get an education and try using your noodle a bit more.
If the vote had gone the other way by the same margin, n.faridge and co would still be here whining on and on in the express and mail and sun rather than nagging off to America….Hang on…That is a genuine silver lining
A Referendum Null and Void
A Referendum Carried on a margin of 52million / 48 million or 1.0833,333 otherwise 2.08% and based upon lies deceit and prejudice is not the kind of thing that civilised people should consider valid. This referendum in any reasonable court of law would have resulted in the protagonists being sentenced for perjury. Any government which can support such a result has lost all vestiges of justice and morality and should forfeit the right to remain in government.
Never in my 73 year lifetime have I witnessed such scandalous behaviour of some of the people who have abused the electorate of the United Kingdom in creating a feeding frenzy amongst some of the most xenophobic and susceptible voters, people who betrayed by successive governments seek to register their discontent and frustration by voting in favour of Brexit. Such voters are unlikely to have been able to assemble a representative range of issues in their framework of decision making and come to a balanced decision. The protagonists in full knowledge of the virtual impossibility of the greater part of the electorate to come to a plausible reasoned decision as to how they should vote exploited every ounce of falsehood to achieve their end.
I consider that the action of these arch Brexiteers to amount to treason, their actions destined to betray and harm the British people and personally I feel grievously betrayed.
This entire shambolic farce begs the question; who will benefit from this odious treachery?
The speaker of the House of Commons John Simon Bercow is one of the very few decent honest members of the house who has succinctly voiced a comprehensive set of reasons to remain one of which has rarely if ever been voiced in public, that of the absolute necessity for Britain to remain a fully committed member of the EU in order to enable the EU to fulfil the vital role of a balancing power block on the world stage to ensure that the Chinese, Russians and the Americans never acquire enough power to dominate the world stage to the detriment of others.
Sadly the Brexiteers respond to any who criticise their project with a nasty form of scurrilous and vindictive defamation in an attempt to silence them and in so doing revealing their inherent insecurity in their position which they are unable to justify with civilised argument. To wit, even the nation’s High court judges who ruled in favour of maintaining parliamentary scrutiny have been the subject of abuse by government ministers and some of the press alike.
The article also omits mentioning that approx 3 million EU residents in UK were cynically disenfranchised
Sign the petition calling for votes for the muzzled 5½ million:
Apart from the fact that the referendum posed a binary choice while a general election is not in the least binary, in electing some 650 individual MPs the point that does not seem to have been made is that the electorate has the chance to change its mind and elect different .MP s every five years . The outcome of a referendum choice to leave the EU is practically irreversible, no change of mind nor second thoughts on the part of voters can be effective in practice once we are out. . For this reason too there really should be a second referendum once the terms of Brexit are known and the consequences more reliably predicted. I do not think referenda are a sensible way for a representative democracy to make decisions but here we are in a post referendum world and the only way to review the decision and confirm or set it aside is to hold another referendum. It is politically unacceptable and decisive to expect MPs to go against the so-called “will of the people” at this stage. It is the people who will have to decide and MPs can breathe a sigh of relief and safely abandon the insanity of Brexit – assuming the the second referendum goes that way !
Very well put.
Over 80%,of U.K. acadenics favour left wing.politics.
That’s because the intelligence is found in the left wing. When you consider the right wing personalities, well, there you go!
More broadly, NO one voted to leave the Single Market or the customs union – the question was not on the paper and it is simply dishonest to say that to leave them was somehow ‘implied” in the referendum. I well remember the previous referendum where the choice was between being fully In the “Common Market” or being in EFTA – the then EEA – i.e. between being inside and making the rules, or being outside and following them.
Cameron made it clear that a vote to leave the European union would be a vote to leave the single market. So you are incorrect.
Who even remembers anything that Cameron said? Look at the ballot paper. That’s what people voted for. Oh and where is the democracy that refuses to give the right to vote to millions of citizens?
There was a third demographic that were, bizarrely, unable to vote, namely British Citizens who have lived outside of the UK for 15 years or longer. I’m one of those and I’m pretty certain that we all would have voted remain… I have a British Passport, I don’t see why I was excluded.
Same here – except that I am certain that I would have voted remain!
You are absolutely right and all this leaves to stigmatisation . All British people are well integrated ,and welcome.
Brexit is the herald of free enterprise.
(There, that’s got it nailed!)
Do you pay taxes and national insurance contributions to the British treasury?
If you think that paying taxes and NI is the deciding factor for voting eligibility, UK pensioners, resident in UK, these who receive less than 11,000£ p.a., must not have been allowed to vote. (FYI, pensioners do not pay any NIC from their pensions, and are entitled to their 11,000£ tax-free allowance).
In my opinion such a referendum should have been extended to 16 your olds and ex pats, who weren’t even given the chance to vote, myself included.
All the rubbish that was broadcast before, on both sides was just embarrassingly ridiculous.
Nearly all the arguments that I heard for leaving were simply the fault of present and past governments or the fact that we signed a Human Rights agreement, nothing to do with the EU.
Normally if you’re headed in the wrong direction you just turn around, everyone who has an opinion isimply base it on the facts and experience they’ve gone through, if new information arises it’s not wrong to change your opinions, this is how we move forward.
Still shaking my head in disbelief.
Since the young would be most effected should they have had more weighting to their vote.
A 16 yo would get 16/16 or 1.0 weighting, a 64 yo would get a 16/64 or 0.25 weighting
Not to mention the numerous British people living in the EU member states who were disenfranchised and could not vote because of the 15 year rule. Undemocratic ! We want a vote as our lives will be affected if the UK withdraws from the EU.
Only 27% vote?Is this democratic?
It’s one thing knowing how people would vote. However, it strikes me there is much less known about why we voted the way we did. What were the main issues that we wanted to change or remain the same? Just how many people chose to leave to free ourselves of banana regulations, or to save the nhs, or because they couldn’t bring themselves to vote with David Cameron?
Talking to people after the vote I got the distinct impression that many retired people vote to Leave, people who will be least affected by Brexit in the long term. I find that sad and selfish.
I am retired and voted remain.
If more people who wanted to remain had bothered to vote,which includes many young people, the result may have been different.
How can you conclude that older people who voted leave were selfish when you have no idea of their motivation.
Everyone seems to agree there will be some short term difficulties as a result of leaving. Leavers think it is worth it for long term benefits.Therefore for older people to vote leave must be anything but selfish even if in my view misguided.
Do we not all vote for what we generally see as being in our own best interests? The deal is not yet done, so nobody, not even the experts, know exactly how matters will pan out.
Oh yes we do. It will be one if 2 things: Bad or Worse. Get used to the shithole that is the YUK.
A real and utter travesty after experiencing the best of everything. The last time we were out of the EU we were devastated by inequality, poverty and failing industry. We had to get an IMF bail out.
Those older people who saw their property values increase exponentially, who benefited from free movement to buy property abroad and are sitting on fat pensions have let future generations down and robbed them of so many benefits which they themselves took totally for granted.
And for what?! Sovereignty; we had it anyway! Immigration; oops sorry we won’t be able to reduce it and if we do get it down a bit it’s the pensioner Brexiters who will no longer benefit from the care given by so many overseas staff! And nobody with anything to offer is applying to come to the unis or be here- cause they want to feel wanted. So we’ll lose all the talented hardworking people to countries who want them. NHS funding we lied, trade; let’s deal with Trump. Scotland and N Ireland. Let’s naff them off so much they want to leave too.
But hey our economy is booming ( we’ve not left yet!!) and who’s benefitting?! Bet the budget will give nothing away to the most needy. It’ll be the elite bankers and media magnates who funded the thoroighly detestable Leave campaign who will benefit and the super rich who will use Britain as an unregulated tax haven.
So let’s have another referendum for those people who couldn’t be bothered to vote ? Let’s really piss off the already thoroughly disgruntled Brexiters and let’s pretend it all didn’t happen. The truth is it did and we can now only look forward to being the cautionary tale ( along with the US) of what happens when a popular vote is decided by non facts and jingoistic slogans. We have our country back and it seems most Europeans now probably realise that we’re welcome to it!!
And dont get me started on Dubs…. and our refusal to help refugee children…
Dear Karin Brawn. Clear and concise. The best summary I have read. May I please copy it? Attributed to you of course.
We are pensioners and we voted Remain because we considered our children and grandchildren’s future. We are old enough to remember what life was like before we joined the EU and it most definitely was NOT great. When was Britain great? Do they mean in Victorian times when we had an empire and the majority of the population was living in poverty.
We cannot believe the optimism and ignorance of our MPs. The writing is on the wall and the future is not good.
By this logic no British election has ever been valid. Our democracy has never required a majority of the electorate to support the outcome. Labour’s 1997 landslide was won on the back of around 20% of the electorate. Meanwhile, no European election has even seen a majority of the electorate participate. What does that say about our support for Europe?
I find the idea that we should base out decision on opinion polls rather than elections even more risible.
I was a Remain voter and think that Brexit will be bad for Britian, but the pretence that the vote was not valid is absurd.
I take you point, but no election is ever binary in the way the referendum was. It’s as if you were asked by a decorator if you wanted your house painted red or not red. You might have said yes to ‘not red’ but then found your house being painted blue. But you didn’t want blue. But you said you wanted it painted ‘not red’ and you have got what you wanted.
That’s a different matter, Gary. I agree that there is no mandate for a specific form of ‘Brexit’, but there is for SOME form of ‘leaving the EU’. Not being a member of the EU is binary and that is what has been chosen.
Perhaps, to finesse your analogy, we’ve paid the painter in advance to paint the house a different colour. Now we have to decide what that colour is going to be.
Tom Papworth is right that the June result is valid. Cary Carpenter is right that the binary question was not suitable for the final resolution of the issue.
The solution? Divide the referendum process into two. Treat June as a mandate referendum – creating a valid – but provisional – mandate to negotiate and agree a plan with the EU.
Then we would have the decision referendum on the terms of brexit – a binary vote with two concrete packages.
(It would be impracticable in a referendum to have a third option – Brexit on different terms.)
Facebook: Campaign for the Real Referendum – on the Terms of Brexit
I know of a family disenfranchised by the 15 year rule, with he younger generation most let down by having British citizenship cut from under their feet whilst studying in various parts of Europe. The parents are now applying for Luxembourg citizenship – with a mixture of anger and reluctance. Given that a substantial number of the staff in the translation and interpreting departments I’ve come across are British and feeling similarly shafted I’d remind those still gung-ho to trigger Article 50 of the basic premise that it costs 10 times the effort to win a friend than that required to avoid losing one, and boy have you lost a lot of friends.
It was not only the 15 year excluded community, but a huge number of reports coming back that postal votes, especially for those from overseas were grossly mismanaged. Many found their voting packs contained the wrong papers and return envelopes, and arrived with a near impossible expectation that a vote posted back immediately, would arrive in time to be counted (i wonder what the total of late arriving postal votes might be?).
Finally an observation from the local neighbourhood on the comings and goings from the then Keir Hardie House in 1997, when Jim Sillars was rudely toppled from his Govan seat. A steady stream of minibuses brought those eligible to vote to a place where ‘helpful people’ would assist with proxy, postal and other ways to make their mark, naturally for the enabling candidate. Such measures as visiting residential homes, providing transport to the poll, etc might have been a missed trick for the remain campaign perhaps, as would be a proper review of the electoral roll, as I noted one year for local council elections. One ‘close’ with 8 flats – mostly 2 person rentals – had 18 names on the register, of which only 2 were actually current residents, so I collected up the 16 polling cards for long departed residents and …. sent them back to the ERO, who clearly did nothing as the same names received poll cards for subsequent elections, offering a massive opportinity for personation to an organised operation.
It’s very clear that the citizenry of the UK suffer from a lack of literacy and education. Democracy is waning globally, of course, and parliamentarians demonstrate both their ignorance as well as their willingness to run roughshod over it. The UK deserves what it gets and it deserves a full English Brexit. The details of the decline and failure of a civilisation are always different, of course, but dead is always the result. The UK is no different or any better. Accepting facts and truths are always difficult and painful. Democracy is merely an aberration, a damp squib on the history of human civilization. Tyranny and dictatorship rules always and forever. Ben Franklin said it more than 250 years ago: “You have your democracy, IF you can keep it.” Ben knew that the cards were stacked against it. Dictators support each other as Putin and Trump support each other. May kisses Trump’s back frontage just as all weak nations do. The people never did speak. The will of the people is always ignored. Mantras are meaningless. Nations are permanently divided forever. Nothing anything or anyone can do to change that historical fact of life. It’s amusing to watch and listen to the parliament and government waffle on meaninglessly since June last year. The real difficulty is in finding comedians to deal with Brexit. Fortunately, they have 100 years to come up with some good lines.
The referendum vote was naive beyond belief.
It was always obvious that a convincing majority for stay or leave was essential and therefore the more than 50% to win rules were stupid and aproduced an inevitable foundation for all the discontent that has followed.
A vote of this significance and in the context of already being members required a leave majority of at least 60% to be credible and probably 75% to provide an uncontestable outcome.
Also is should have been set up as two votes the first to take the mood of the country , focus attention and enable people to think and plan according to the vote.
The second vote to decide whether we would act on the outcome or switch horses.in other words give ourselves the opportunity for a confirming or think again vote
The first vote could have been 60% either stay or leave and the second vote should require at least the same majority with all the weight of the decision lying on the second vote.
This would produce a credible decisive majority backed conclusive and democratic method of choosing our future
I think that you are absolutely right about the need for a referendum on the terms of Brexit. That would as you suggest be quite different from the June vote. It would be a vote on a defined plan that can be assessed.
I think that it was not set up that way because no-one thought that after 30+ years of complaining, UKIP/Leave would not have a plan.
However, just because it was not set up that way does not mean that the process cannot be adjusted to be a two-stage process. That would, after all, be standard project management practice: a project review once a plan has been produced.
Liberal Democrats and Greens, and the non-party European Movement support a referendum on the terms, so you can make your mark by joining.
The problem is that Labour is supporting the Conservatives, though with luck they will come to see a referendum on the terms as a way of uniting the party. And the SNP ask themselves what will boost the case for Scottish independence, so they view Brexit with mixed feelings.
Facebook: Campaign for the Real Referendum – on the Terms of Brexit
Very interesting article. Since the vote I have been mystified why any intelligent person would claim or accept that the vote was “conclusive” in any sense and especially that claimed by supposedly “main stream” politicians.
Written to the same ASA standards that we apply to pet food, the (very flawed) Brexit vote doesn’t seem too appealing:
“In tests, 5 out of 10 voters, who expressed a preference, said they preferred Brexit.”
Perhaps we should be at least applying the same standards we apply to pet food to the claims of politicians?
Also omitted from your list of those unable to vote are the perhaps 2 million UK citizens living abroad who (like me) were excluded by the 15-year rule. The Conservatives Party thinks this unjust, because Votes-For-Life is one of their as-yet unkept election promises. Added to the 16- & 17-year olds and those permanernt residents of the UK who were considered too foreign to vote (but not too foreign to pay taxes), we end up with 5½ million who were excluded from the Brexit referendum.
If you think all future voting ought to include these 5½ million, please sign my petition to Parliament to this effect — and spread the word to your friends:
As a Leave voter, I must confess that I find myself unimpressed with “fairness” arguments in respect of voting barriers either to students or to EU citizens resident in the UK. The latter do not vote in Parliamentary elections (though they may in local ones) and the same should pertain in respect of a national referendum. As for the former, if the issue so concerned them, then they had an obligation to find out what they needed to do in order to be able to vote. There are resources available for that purpose.
As an earlier comment pointed out, one can’t make decisions based on how non-voters might have voted nor ought one to nullify a result based on polls after the fact. Parliament is still free – if its members so choose – to ignore the vote and force the government to do the same but both the major parties are nervous as to how the electorate might react.
I voted as I did not over immigration nor for any perceived economic benefit (in the short-term, at least, I suspect things will be worse) but because it seemed to me that nothing less than withdrawal could force upon those who lead the EU a stronger commitment to the principle of subsidiarity. I understand the frustration of the Remain camp, given the margin of defeat, but had things gone the other way I’m sure Vote Leave would have been told that this was a resounding victory for remaining in the EU and that any attempt to raise the issue in the future would be unpardonable.
The Ukip leader speaks to the Mirror’s Associate Editor Kevin Maguire and warns that a ’52-48 result would be unfinished business’
Jeremy, I am not sure about that. The press treated Farage’s claim, based on his belief that if he had not won, by a small margin, by the same 48% figure indeed, he would ask for a second referendum. He was right and so are the retainers. This is not a significant margin, and everyone knows it.
To Adrian Low: A very thorough and interesting piece of research. Congratulations! One wonders why The Guardian – or even The Telegraph has not printed any analysis of the opinion polls nor your results on its front pages. Or done the research themselves. I am citing your work in my next blog. Will post a link when it comes out. Carry on spreading the message !
The Leave camp have been proven to disseminated fictions to a willing media and they still only took the vote by 2%. Whose to say what % of their vote was swung on these untruths? But surely it was more then 2%.
Four percent, not two.
Also, given the utter dishonestly demonstrated by Europhiles, from Edward Heath on, to tell the British public the truth about what membership in the EU entailed, it is rather late in the day to be whining about “untruths.”
The British public were lied to in 1975. All that happened in 2016 was those lies caught up with the Europhiles.
I’m curious to see that the author is a practising priest, in Spain. And wondering what he thinks about the position of the Bishops in the House of Lords. Democratic, or undemocratic?
What is the relevance of who the author is – an ad hominem logical fallacy
Not to mention the British citizens living abroad for more than 15 years not allowed to vote. Seond class citizenship.
I agree with the key point of the conclusion and disagree with most of the reasoning that leads to it.
Non-voters’ views do not count. We do not set aside general election results according to an opinion poll of those who did not vote. We should not do so in the case of the referendum. However, the point that non-voters may be more likely to vote next time because they have realised what is at stake is a good one.
It is reasonable to exclude those aged 16 & 17 from the vote. Adulthood generally is held to begin at 18. Evidence on their ability to vote maturely is weak. They are excluded from the Parliamentary vote.
Similarly it is reasonable to exclude EU citizens. The EU is not a nation state but a collection of nation states. The EU referendum was a vote on the destiny of the UK. Confining it to UK nationals was reasonable. It was also in line with the Parliamentary electorate. (I do not defend allowing Commonwealth citizens the vote, which I regard as a hangover of Imperial nostalgia or of including EU citizens in the Scottish vote.)
More importantly we should not change the rules for the next referendum. Otherwise we will not be able to heal the country because if Remain wins Leave voters will say that it was won by cheating by changing the rules.
I also do not think that the polls yet point to differential remorse by Leave voters on a scale to lead to a convincing Remain victory amongst those who vote.
The point I expect that large scale change of heart to come is when Theresa May finally tells us what Brexit means. That point will come when the key terms of Brexit have been agreed with the EU. Not only will that end the fantasy land where we can achieve all our negotiating objectives (Boris: have our cake and eat it). But also voters who could project their own version of Leave onto the ballot paper will find that it is Theresa May’s Brexit or Remain. Some at least will choose Remain.
Essentially June was a vote on an idea. But you cannot implement an idea, only a plan. And no project goes forward without project review processes at which “do not do the project” is an option.
So there should be a referendum on the key terms of Brexit once agreed, about 20 months after Article 50 has been invoked with the choice Brexit on these terms or Remain. The electorate should be formed under the same rules as in June. The “Great Repeal Bill” should be amended to that effect.
Facebook: Campaign for the Real Referendum – on the Terms of Brexit
There is absolutely nothing to stop a political party including eu membership in its manifesto. This is democracy, not ad hoc polling samples.
Unfortunately while there are no formal obstacles to such a platform, the distribution of Brexit support among voters is such that any party (except the lib dems probably) would haemorrhage support and ultimately commit political suicide by running on such a platform. This is partly down to Corbyn who is incapable of attracting moderate Tory supporters.