Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Brexit referendum is not

binding on Westminster. Let's take a look?
In the UK there is no compulsion to attend the ballot box. That means only 71% of the population voted. (It's still a lot higher than the US attendance at the ballot box.) In Downunder the percentage is much higher because there is compulsory attendance at the ballot box. (It is NOT compulsory voting because nobody can compel you to mark the ballot paper.)
I am now trying to find some official statistics on who voted in the referendum because I think they may be interesting. There is evidence to suggest that, of the young people who voted, three out of four voted to Remain. But how many young people voted? Older people are being blamed for Brexit but is that the entire story? Perhaps it is time to turn some attention to those who didn't vote, wouldn't vote, or couldn't vote?
And, as I pointed out, the referendum result is not binding on Westminster. It might seem too late now but is it really? There are some interesting things going on. The rest of the EU seems to be anxious to be rid of the UK but is it really? As someone pointed out to me in a tweet this might be more about saving the EU from further disintegration. A certain Dutch politician is already calling for "Nexit" and a French politician wouldn't mind testing "Frexit". 
Remember how close they came to "Grexit" in Greece too. 
I think it suggests two things. The first is that Germany's Angela Merkel is worried about her own job. Having "lost" the UK she desperately needs to keep the rest of the EU together. I suspect France's Hollande (and Valls) feel the same way - and that Le Pen sees it as green light to try again. Similar situations exist in other countries but these two are the most powerful.
The second thing however is even more serious, much more serious. The vote has told the EU that there is something wrong with the EU itself. It isn't working as it was intended to work. Too much control has been ceded to a central authority but it isn't achieving anything. The EU is bogged down in a mass of rules and regulations. Many colleagues in Europe have complained to me about these. I have complained too. Far from streamlining procedures I have found myself filling out forms for a local authority, the country, the EU, another country and another local authority. I sometimes need to do that even though I am not being paid and won't have anything to do with the project beyond providing some communication assistance. If the EU worked as it should then surely I should only be filling out one set of forms at that end? Of course it won't work like that. Countries don't want to give up their powers. They want the advantages while still retaining control. It's that word "sovereignty" which counts for most people.
Referenda are not binding on Westminster. The results are there for parliament to consider. They could be used as a tool but it seems that, faced with a knife, politicians of all persuasions are simply giving in. I know one of my friends in Scotland has said that to ignore the results would not be democratic but there are questions of responsibility here.  
What I would really like to know  though is an answer to these questions. What percentage of people aged 24 and under voted? What percentage of people aged 31 and under  voted? If they had all voted could they have made a difference? It was their future they were, and could have been, voting on. 


Anonymous said...

Excellent questions. Please tell us the results of your research.


Anonymous said...

Yes, too many people are blaming "the old", "the poor", "the unemployed" and more but I'm 22 and only two people in my year went to university. We both voted but none of our friends from school bothered to vote. If everyone our age had bothered to be informed and vote the outcome would have been different. It's our generation which has to take the blame.
The other person who has to take some blame for it is Jeremy Corbyn. He's a closet Brexit man. If he had mobilised the Labour masses the way he should have then more people would have voted Remain. My Dad, a union man through and through, voted Remain and he's furious - and he blames Corbyn not Cameron (and he's no lover of Cameron).
Great post
Rodney Green