Having has a go at creating a pie chart a day or two ago about the EU Referendum – they didn’t teach this in schools in the early 1950s – it occurred to me that if one is to talk about “the Nation” then that Nation should be the base for calculations. So the pie above represents the population of the UK in the year 2016 to the best of my Googling ability*.
The blue slice – some 19 million people and 29% of the population – shows those who could not vote because they were not on the electoral roll for whatever reason. Aha, you say, of course children cannot vote ! No, they cannot but they are so far as I know part of “the Nation” and when the rest of us make decisions we should be considering those children’s futures.
The mauve/purple slice shows those who could have voted, but chose not to. I must say here that that slice very nearly included me as I could see from many years ago that a referendum on EU membership was doomed to failure because very few people I spoke to had any idea of how it was set up, or why, or how it works. They were far from “ignorant” as many have claimed, simply uninformed or badly misinformed for many years beforehand. However, a sort of sixth sense made me feel that we were looking at the doom of decency here, so I voted and I voted “Remain”, and by gum, am I glad that I did.
The green slice shows the size of the “Remain vote and the brown slice that of the “Leave” vote.
The referendum was stated explicitly to be an information gathering exercise** and I took part in it on that understanding. A conscientious MP would see straight away that the voters in toto only represent about half the population, and then, further, that the Remain and Leave votes were about the same size. Had this ever been debated properly in the House of Commons we might have had some sort of programme to decide how to sort out this balance of opinion, but somebody somewhere, driven by we know not what or who, chose to regard the whole thing as a “first past the post” exercise and ever since then the leave voters*** have been quoted as being “the Nation” representing “the will of the people”.
* : The UK Population in 2016 was/is estimated to be c.65,640,000 people by the World Bank and others.
** : See the House of Commons Library briefing notes which are available on the web.
*** : About 26.5% of the UK Population.