Here is my blog of 26 february [*1] (cut), annotated with what really happened
Why any referendum is a political cop out
1 The issue is too complex to be reducible to a single question to which the only answers are yes and no.
… whether the UK should stay in the EU is too complex an issue to be reducible to a single question to which the only answers are yes and no.
3 Most of those being asked to decide (including me) do not have sufficient knowledge to be able to decide the issue fairly—and many of those do not have the inclination to find out more.
We have had cases of individuals expressing ‘buyer’s remorse’ after the event, complaining that they were not adequately informed but…
4 There are precious few sources of comprehensible, unbiased information for those few who are inclined to learn more.
…in the end, there were sufficient sources of information. Both the BBC’s Reality check [*2] and Channel 4’s Fact check [*3] were valuable and much publicised by their respective owners. The excellent Full Fact site [*4], an independent fact-checking charity, did sterling work.
Most people, to the extent that they engage with the subject at all, will do so through the [gutter] media which can be relied on to promote a partial, ignorant and trivialising view of the subject.
Of course, this would appear to have been the case. It turned out that the strongest correlation with a vote to remain was “educational attainment”.
… 5 As the campaigns have worn on, it is clear that politicians have no interest in rational debate or the intelligent discussion of various scenarios. It’s all scare tactics.
Yep. The politicians of both sides showed no intention of engaging in rational debate, and didn’t do so. Whilst the scare tactics were predominantly on the Remain side, the Remain politicians were flamboyant and imaginative in their deployment of them. The Leavers specialised in lies and deceit, the scale and naked arrogance of which were, almost, beyond belief.
6 Politicians will use the subject merely as a forum to perpetuate their tired party politics…
There was less of this, to be honest. Remain was identified overwhelmingly with one half of the tory party. Leave with the other half. It became an internal tory fight. Labour, regrettably, was, shall we say, less than assertive as a party, while individual politicians did their own thing. The Liberal Democrats were invisible (this may well be an artefact of the media coverage, of course). UKIP, or at least Mr Nigel Farage, were distressingly prevalent (the press can never resist a man with a monkey).
7 As the turnout is likely to be under 75%,
It was 72.2%
it is relevant to ask the question, in what sense are those who vote mandated to represent the views of those who don’t vote?
This problem has been totally ignored. Presumably because, if you work out that a vote to remain of 52% of a turnout of 72.2% is only 37.4% of the electorate, then you have to conclude that, actually, 2 out of 3 electors did not vote to leave.
8 Referendums are a cop-out initiated by ministers who know they would be blamed whichever decision they took…
As it was, Cameron dumped the question on the electorate because he couldn’t stomach steering a remain sentiment through the commons, and when the referendum delivered the wrong answer, he resigned.
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