Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Brits need no help in deciding their own future

A report by The Electoral Reform Society says that the EU referendum campaign was dogged by "glaring democratic deficiencies" with voters turned off by big name politicians and negative campaigning. It attacks both sides of the referendum campaign, saying people felt "ill-informed" by the "dire" debate.

The society, which campaigns for "democratic reform", said its polling showed Mr Cameron and other political "big beasts" had failed to convince the public. When asked about eight prominent politicians, most people said they had had no effect on the way they voted.

What is more interesting, it said "voters had viewed both sides as increasingly negative, and many "simply did not trust" their key claims. These included Remain saying households would be on overage £4,300 worse off outside the EU and Leave claiming an extra £350m could be spent on the NHS. The government's controversial mail-shot to every household in the UK had "little effect on people's levels of informedness", it said, and towards the end of the campaign nearly half of voters thought politicians were "mostly telling lies".

What this suggests to me is that the lead campaigns on both sides were merely noise-makers with the real debate of the issues happening elsewhere with individual debates on the internet having more sway over how people voted. It also lends weight to my long held view that Vote Leave cannot take credit for the referendum victory.

In the end people looked elsewhere for information, and in then end concluded neither side had much of value to say. What that tells us is that the public were not deceived into voting to leave the EU. They did so for their own distinct reasons.

Ultimately the government lost the referendum by resorting to a barrage of warnings of dire consequences bordering on threats. Voting to leave was an act of defiance against an establishment determined to impress upon us that there is no alternative to the status quo.

If anything the leave campaign deserved to lose, it's just that by the end of the campaign the government deserved to lose more. They'd have probably won had they refrained from blaming the leave camp for the murder of Jo Cox. The relentless display of narcissistic virtue signalling is enough to turn most decent people off completely.

What this means is that the remainers on social media can pack up their stall. We won't be changing our minds no matter how many times it is pointed out that the NHS will not get its £350m a week because we did not vote on that basis. We voted to change the system of government we live under largely because it is the one preferred by those who hold the rest of us in contempt.

As to the Electoral Reform Society, their view is equally condescending. Nobody will dispute that the referendum campaign was indeed dreadful - but we do not need our masters to guide the debate for us. If the British people were smart enough to turn away from the rhetoric of the politicians and the white noise of the official campaigns, then they were smart enough to make the right choice when they voted. And that is why the result must be respected come what may.

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