Tag Archives: the 48

The 48%: The modern-day Cassandra?

History is written by the winners, so they say. Definitions of winning, however, adapt with historical context.

Take Brexit, for example. Right now it seems as though the 48%, and anyone else broadly sympathetic to the Remain cause, are being pushed to the margins by the brashly victorious Leave campaign. Called “sore losers” (as if this is a child’s football match or something else that barely matters), and told to stop being so bloody-minded and undemocratic, it may look as if anyone who voted Remain is soon to be consigned to the footnotes of future grammar school textbooks. Like Cassandra of Greek myth, given the power of foresight but cursed to always be unheard.

But if you think that, you’re highly likely to be proven wrong. In fact, it’s probable that none of us actually even need to do anything in particular to be able to say “I told you so” in years to come, for what that’s worth. And I don’t even suggest this out of some hard-faced certainty that the experts should have been listened to, or because I think the economy will crash, or because of any other plain-as-day prediction ignored before the vote.

With hindsight, we now understand that the EU In/Out camps are remarkably even in the UK. Almost 50/50 in fact, according to the referendum result. This means that, whoever had won the referendum, almost half the country would be currently prepping their pitchforks and flaming torches in readiness for the first thing to go wrong. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 24 Comments

Vince Cable writes…The birth of the 48 movement

For our party and its supporters in the country the last few years have brought one defeat after another:  local councils, devolved government, national government, AV referendum, now the EU referendum.  There is a limit to the number of times a boxer can climb back up off the floor.  What fortifies me is the adage that winners are losers who never give up.  And perhaps we should think bigger: not as a small party with an 8% core vote but the centre of gravity of a broad movement of 48% of voters who chose Remain.

The first step in responding to defeat has been to look for scapegoats: the people who led a poor and failing campaign.  Cameron has gone and (hopefully) Corbyn and Osborne are going.   But in truth the Remain campaign as a whole failed to grasp the strength of the opposing coalition: not just conservative pensioners who want the past back but the’ left behind ‘who have suffered declining living standards and public services, the Commonwealth voters who felt Europe was at their expense and many who felt this was the best way to give an unpopular and unrepresentative government a good kicking.

That is why we have to approach the result with some humility.  There is nothing to be gained by denial: crying foul. We wuz robbed, ref.  I see petitions demanding a re-run, legal challenges and appeals to parliament to ‘do something’.  Dream on.  Of course the Leave campaign was mendacious; of course the referendum shouldn’t have happened; of course parliament was negligent in not building in thresholds. But the public was clearly told by both sides that the result would be final. And there was a big turnout.  That is it..

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 132 Comments
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