Five Thoughts For Thursday on The Referendum

As much as I would like to avoid it I can’t do a weekly blog and not have five thoughts on the referendum. So tin hat on and off we go.

  1. For decades voter participation and engagement, across all elections, has been dropping. Voting for X-Factor and Strictly consistently out perform voting at elections. Although you can vote more than once in TV talent shows. I do wonder if, in the perception of some at least,  the model for democracy is more akin to these shows than the reality of our parliamentary democracy? I don’t watch X-Factor but I do see the debate across my social media streams. There are cries of foul play, vote rigging and how can anyone choose them and in the context of recent events, many a statement about the stupidity of those who voted for someone other than their favourite. There is also this simple fact, the best singer or dancer does not always win. Why? Well maybe because…
  2. Voting is rarely done rationally. We vote for all kinds of different reasons. Party loyalty, family loyalty, a whole host of different narratives will often outweigh any investigation of data. It happens in all walks of life and I have no reason to believe an election or a referendum is any different.
  3. The vast majority of people who voted leave are not racist or stupid. Likewise those who voted remain are not unpatriotic appeasers. Sadly there will be a minority who will believe that a majority of people think and believe and think the way they do. Racism in any form is wrong. It is wrong in any country not just ours. We should all unite to condemn it and work for a better society.
  4. Are referenda a good way to decide anything? Just maybe our parliamentary democracy and the sovereignty of parliament  has been dealt a significant blow by this process. I am not sure it’s been dealt fatal blow but the I think it’s been lessened. It seems Parliament does not now whether to debate the result or not. After all the people have spoken but they were elected to speak and act on our behalf just a year ago. I’ll be honest I have no clear and unequivocal answer to this but I think it’s a question that should be debated. Has the referendum irrespective of the result damaged the standing of our parliamentary democracy.
  5. Most MPs are alright your know. They have to balance loyalty to a party with personal morals and convictions. Deeply held beliefs with pragmatism. The cartoon depiction of MPs probably does not stand up to scrutiny. Most work hard with the right motives like the rest of us. There are times when they get it wrong just like the rest of us.




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