The Referendum…

I’ve waited a while to post this, so that we can consider the issue carefully…

Full details of the outcome here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/eu_referendum/results

Remember that referendums is a key topic in the Democracy & Participation section of unit 1:

  • Reasons for holding referendum: this was undoubtedly called by Cameron to try to heal divisions in his own party (not unlike the earlier 1975 EEC referendum)
  • The turnout of 72% is higher than that of elections for twenty years and suggests that referendums are a good way to increase participation and interest in politics
  • Also good fodder for arguments against referendums/direct democracy:
    • There is plenty of evidence that the public were swayed by populist figures/speeches (Boris…) and were not fully informed about the complicated issues
    • Very many people that voted to leave did so as an ‘anti-establishment’ vote, rather than understanding the issues. There are stories of thousands of people phoning Downing St to ask to change their vote because they ‘didn’t think it would count’…
  • It is interesting to consider the role of the media in this too – an early study from Reuters suggested that there had been more leave support in the media than remain – did this sway the outcome?

 

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