Total number of voters: 33,577,342
In favour of leaving: 17,410,742
In favour of staying: 16,141,241
A Teacher’s Reading of the Brexit Vote
Most teachers consider a mark of 51.89% on a quiz or test a very low grade. It usually indicates that the student is likely to fail the course. Moreover, in certain Canadian universities, teachers are asked not to give a final mark between 45% and 50% to a student who is graduating or finishing his or her degree. Marks between 45% and 50% are lowered or raised, depending on the student’s overall performance and, occasionally, on his or her circumstances.
Therefore, according to classroom standards, if 51.89% (17,410,742) of Britons agreed to leave the European Union, and 48.11% (16,141,241) voted to stay, breaking away from the European Union is not warranted. It is too literal a reading. The spirit of the law negates its letter. (See United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016, Wikipedia.)
“Intentionally following the letter of the law but not the spirit may be accomplished through exploiting technicalities, loopholes, and ambiguous language.” (See Letter and spirit of the law, Wikipedia.)
If we delete Bregrets (1,2 million) from the “leave” voters, the gap is even narrower. Bregrets may feel they did not know precisely what they were voting for or against. They may also feel they were not sufficiently informed regarding the consequences of their vote.
Using numbers instead of a percentage, 17,410,742 million Britons (51.89%) voted to leave the EU and 16,141,241 million (48.11 %) voted to stay. If Britain leaves the European Union, it would be by too small a majority. Although Bregrets voters (1,2 million) cannot be counted officially, they cannot be ignored. Nor can one ignore the demonstrators in Trafalgar Square or elsewhere in Britain. I dare not subtract 1,200,000 from 17,410,742, and add 1,200,000 to 16,141,241.
The plot thickens. According to professor Michael Dougan, there was misrepresentation on the part of Brexit advocates.
One issue was sovereignty. Some voters believed, or were made to believe, that the UK would regain its independence if it left the European Union. Such a view is puzzling. Britain was one of the foremost colonial powers in history, if not the foremost. It is independent.
Another issue is immigration. Some “leave” voters thought they were voting to exclude certain immigrants from entering England or to send them back.
Countries do regulate the number of immigrants they accept, but we cannot assume that migrants who are risking their lives to enter Europe are terrorists. Migrants flooding Europe are fleeing terrorism, war, and repressive autocracies. They are the victims of Isil or Daesch, the Syrian Civil War, and autocrats who violate human rights. Some countries cannot accommodate immigrants at this point because they are still recovering from the breakdown of the Soviet Union.
For instance, Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, now regrets using the words Hamas and Hezbollah. However, is anyone suggesting Mr Corbyn is an anti-Semite? If Mr Corbyn is an anti-Semite, so is Noam Chomsky. YouTube has several videos featuring Noam Chomsky discussing various subjects, including Israel and Palestine.
There is sympathy for Palestinians, and many countries recognize the State of Palestine. Nearly 50 years after the Six-Day War, Israel still occupies Palestinian territory and it is building a wall part of which is located in the occupied territories.
The problem at this point would be Islamophobia.
I will conclude borrowing several words from my last post. I then wrote that it may be in the best interest of Britons not to break from the European Union at this point. My opinion has not changed. John Kerry, the United States Secretary of State, has suggested Britain could walk back its decision, which may be a good idea. Should Britain leave the EU if its population does not express itself clearly? There is no consensus at the moment.
In my opinion, the EU referendum failed to give British Prime Minister David Cameron a clear mandate to either leave or remain within the EU. One must also consider that although a decision made on so tiny a majority would be legally acceptable, it may be too literal, in which case it may not “sit well” with Britons, a factor that cannot be dismissed.
Moreover, can Britain leave the EU if there was misrepresentation? If voters believed, or were led to believe, that once it was “independent,” Britain could close its door on Muslims or certain other immigrants, or send them back, there may have been unsavoury political manoeuvering. However, I will not go further regarding this matter for lack of information. What we know is that there was no planning.
We also know that Britain is experiencing a leadership crisis. Prime Minister David Cameron plans to resign in October and Mr Corbyn has been asked to resign but has resisted such requests. A nation cannot be without leaders. Whether or not Britain wants to leave is not clear; yet its leaders are being asked to resign.
This is my last post on the of Brexit “incident.”
The Canadian experience may be worth looking at. The 1995 Quebec Referendum nearly broke Canada (49.42% voted in favour of separation and 50.58% voted against), which led to the passing of the Clarity Act. If a province, Quebec or another province, wishes to leave Confederation, the decision will not be based on a 50 – 50 vote, i.e. 49.42% (leave) versus 50.59% (stay). Such a result showed division.
Love to everyone. ♥
- Brexit. The Day after the Vote (30 June 2016)
- Musing on Brexit (28 June 2016)
- Walls and Bridges (21 February 2016)
Sources and Resources
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum,_2016
- various newspaper articles
- Noam Chomsky
- Montesquieu: L’Esprit des lois (1748)
© Micheline Walker
6 July 2016