was never made more obvious than it was yesterday.
I was stopped in the supermarket by someone I know. I don't know her that well but she knows me sufficiently she felt confident about asking me a question. It was a simple question about the referendum process in this country.
Note well please. It was a simple question about the referendum process. It had absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter of the referendum itself.
It is, rightly, difficult to get a referendum question to pass in this country. It requires what we call a "double majority". In other words it requires a majority of people in a majority of the states. This is not the same as a simple majority.
If you had a hundred people voting on something and required a simple majority then fifty-one votes in favour of something would be enough to see something pass. In a referendum this would give people in the most populous states an advantage over the rest of the country. This is why we have the "double majority". Yes, it is a complex idea but it is one which was designed to be as "fair" as possible across a huge geographical area.
I don't know how good my explanation of the mathematics was but the person who asked me seemed satisfied. She pushed her trolley on as a man I did not know at all said, "You didn't tell her she has to vote "yes"." He meant "yes" in the upcoming referendum. He was clearly very upset by this, indeed angry with me
"But it isn't my place to tell her how to vote. It wasn't what she was asking me about anyway," I told him feeling more than a little taken aback.
"It's your job to tell her to vote "yes" if she doesn't understand what to do," he told me and strode off.
I hope he didn't accost the person who asked me but I felt a bit shaken. There is more and more of this aggressiveness occurring here. It is becoming very nasty at times.
I am very thankful we go into that little private space at the polling booth and mark our ballot papers without someone looking over our shoulders. It is much better than putting our hands up publicly.