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From The Independent site yesterday: ‘I Bregrexit’: I voted for Brexit—and now I realise what a terrible mistake I made.

A crucial part of what tripped up such voters is that they’re used to General Elections fought under first past the post, where again and again their vote makes no difference, and in safe seats they can muck about with protest votes and what have you. They totally misunderstood the nature of a national referendum where every vote towards either side counts.

But that misunderstanding isn’t all on them: it’s on the political classes failing to inform them properly, and sometimes even wanting to keep them ill-informed. I think now that the AV referendum was a big part of why this one went as it did: an obvious improvement to Britain’s voting system was undermined because the two main parties wanted to play party politics with it, and wanted to preserve their own chances of winning absolute power outright rather than risk a future of messy coalitions and compromise. AV was portrayed as “too complicated”, when from the voter’s point of view all it involved was numbering the candidates to rank them rather than writing an X in a box. The AV debate indulged a popular sense that votes didn’t matter, that, literally, how you vote doesn’t matter.

This was Owen Jones calling it last Tuesday. Leave was a clear threat right up to Thursday. If anyone was complacent about that, and either capriciously voted Leave or figured it didn’t matter and so didn’t bother voting, then they’re part of Leave’s victory.

But the ones who actually voted Leave brought us here the most, whether they feel bad about it now or not. A “Regrexit” voter had exactly the same influence in the actual voting booth as Nigel Farage himself.

27 June 2016 · Politics


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