As I sit down to write its very hard not to launch in to a rant highlighting my disappointment regarding the referendum result. I imagine its very hard for most who are on the losing side. Its increasingly clear that rather than people looking critically at the sole question of the pros/cons of EU membership, this was more about sticking it to the establishment who have delivered austerity to a downtrodden working class. Its just a shame the consequences are more far reaching than a potential shake up of the political elite.
Like I said at the start, I’m not here to winge. I am here to look at the results and the future.
Turn out – 72.2% this was high, the issue was taken seriously and people jumped on the chance to vote. Peoples opinions were strongly held and we can expect that to translate forward in to the next few years worth of politics. If we are to be treated to a general election we could expect a strong motivated turn out.
First we have Cameron’s exit, he will go in October with a leadership race set to dominate the news for the next few months. There are a few obvious candidates. Boris Johnson, the leader of the vote leave campaign has made no secret of his leadership ambitions. Other people being suggested are Theresa May, Liam Fox, Michael Gove and David Davies. Whoever wins, the Conservatives will be divided and a great deal of inter party repairs will have to be made.
More tricky is what happens with the Labour Party. Like Cameron, Corbyn has lead his party to defeat, his ineffectiveness during the referendum has translated in to large swathes of working class voters (traditionally Labours old guard) turning their back on the party. There is a vote of no confidence in progress, he will have to work hard to survive it.
If Corbyn drags his feet and the discontent that started all the way back last May continues, the door could be left open for an early election. There are already rumours that his conspicuous absence from the debate was a deliberate choice on his part, something that I personally find very cynical and if true could cut his leadership very short indeed. A freshly rejuvenated Conservative Party that embraces the leave vote will not find it difficult to build on their parliamentary lead against a quiet and divided labour party with no direction. Its just a question of whether this referendum counts as a mandate for a reformed government, is a general election necessary perhaps? How Corbyn can win back labour voters is beyond my understanding. Corbyn, the slowest man in politics must make sure the Labour Party moves just as fast as the Conservatives if they want to be ready for any eventuality, the best chance for the party may be for him to stand aside.
The only leader that did manage to secure the backing of her voters was Nicola Sturgeon. Perhaps the most certain consequence of the out vote is a second Scottish referendum. 45% of Scottish electorate voted for independence last time. That was based on the understanding that Scotland would get to stay in the EU. You can bet a referendum would result in a independence vote next time, further damaging any chance of Labour recovery.
Sitting here thinking about the divisions that have now become apparent. Young and Old, Educated and Uneducated, Working Class and Middle Class, Pro Immigration and Anti Immigration, these divides are cross party. What happened to the left/right divide!! It will be very interesting how the major political parties attempt to align themselves to a mass core of voters moving forward. The two main parties will look very different come the next election, both in personnel and policies, whether that results in the death of the establishment remains to be seen.
Aside: here is a calculation I did over my lunch.
Voter turn out for the young was 45%
Voter turn out for the old was 75%
There are roughly 750000 17 year olds in the uk
There are roughly 3 million people over 80
An 80 year old has a 7.1% of not seeing their next birthday.
A 17 year old has a 0.1% chance of not seeing their next birthday.
The over 65’s voted 61% in favour of leave
18-24 year olds voted 75% in favour of remain.
Therefore we can calculate the following.
The leave camp will have a net loss of 83,070 people every year due to being over the UK’s life expectancy.
The remain camp will have a net gain of 102,375 due to 17 year olds becoming legally eligible to vote.
That’s a swing of +233,820 votes a year for the remain camp, meaning it will take just 5.4 years before the decision to leave the EU becomes functionally undemocratic.