Wednesday, March 27, 2019

An exam question

Given that:

1. The strength of a mandate is based on the size of the majority, not the number of people who voted for the winner. The number of votes cast only indicates the size of the population and the turnout. A 4% majority is a weak mandate.

2. Out of the total electorate, 17,410,742 people voted to leave. 29,090,500 didn't.

3. "The will of the people" is not a democratic concept. It takes a single fixed opinion and insists that it must be enforced regardless of opposition. It is populist authoritarianism. Consensus is a democratic concept. It is about negotiation and change, reaching agreement, listening and deliberating, with no predetermined conclusion.

4. The British Social Attitudes Survey (page 5, table 1) shows that there has never been a majority for leaving the EU. The only time that it came close (41%) was in 2016 as a result of the polarising effects of the referendum and support has been falling away ever since. According to Faisal Islam  there "hasn’t been a single poll in almost a year now with a Leave lead." Of the 70 polls since the 2017 general election only two show a small Leave lead, five were ties, and sixty-three had Remain leads. The latest poll showing a ten point lead for Remain is a sign that we are reverting slowly to the mean.

5. Every credible study of the economic impact of Brexit shows it to be damaging in most parts of the economy, and will hit the poorest people and areas worst. This reportage from SMEs is frightening.

Make a case for the EU referendum being a) democratic, and b) a good idea.


George S said...

The trouble is none of that makes any difference now. We are living in a state of advanced decomposition. Mouths are frothing. Tommy Robinson's dogs are straining to bite anyone and - worst of all - the language used by both press and the Brexit end of the Tory Party is foul enough to incite violence. I think we will get some.

The Plump said...

I am more optimistic than you, George, for three reasons:

1. The mass of people are either the great indifferent or the great bemused. Passions are high amongst the committed. The remain movement is about ten times the size of the leave movement.

2. The language is vile, but the politicians are profoundly unserious, refusing to engage with reality and the most rabid Brexiters have voted against the best chance of Brexit. I think they are happier about the prospect of moaning about the EU than leaving it. They accept no responsibility.

3. The younger generation. They are serious, with a strong vested interest in remain.

The frothing on the fringe is unpleasant and dangerous, but it is the fringe. It is easy for them to radicalise the mainstream, but my inveterate optimism sees that fringe disintegrating. The intemperate language and the crazy waffling is the sound of the defeat - it is the cry of failure. This doesn't mean that Brexit won't happen, but its failure is assured. Then, there is a long repair job to be done and I have a lot of faith in that younger, overwhelmingly pro-EU generation to do a reasonable job.

The Plump said...

Though I should add that my optimism does not extend to Northern Ireland, where they are deadly serious. See here: