Friday, 8 July 2016

The Real Result

In an election, you have a choice between several candidates, whose proposals you can consider and choose between, and place your X accordingly.  If you decide not to do so, by abstaining, you may feel that you are nevertheless making a statement, which might be ‘none of these’ or ‘I don’t care’.  Abstention is thus a positive choice.

In a yes/no referendum, you don’t have the luxury of that ‘none of these’ or ‘don’t care’ third option.  It’s binary.  Your action has to mean ‘yes’ or ‘no’, nothing else.

In the case of our recent referendum, not voting had to mean ‘remain’.  What else could it possibly mean?  After all, it certainly wasn’t a vote for ‘leave’, and as I’ve shown there was no third choice. 

Therefore, the votes of the 28% of the electorate who abstained have to be counted as votes for ‘remain’.  So by not turning up, those 28% were saying they were happy for things to ‘remain’ as they are.

This being so, the real result was

Remain: 63% of the electorate.

Leave: 37% of the electorate.



  1. Exactly what I was saying before the vote. If you're not bothered enough to vote exit, vote remain. But vote. I did manage to convince two to vote who weren't going to but otherwise we are surrounded by clowns.

  2. I submit my honourable exception - I am fervently anti-EU (but pro Europe) but consciously abstained as I felt this was a choice for the young. Over sixties votes should carry far less weight on a question like this.
    Sadly a lot of young people think that simply making a lot of angry noise on Twitter will get them what they want and didn't turn up to vote.
    Also, if the vote had been made under normal First Past the Post system the result would have been just over 67% for leave.

    1. I respect your sentiment, Rog, though not necessarily your logic. And I'm confused by your maths.