Do Brits generally vote for the status quo?
The wonderful Archbishop Cramner blog has an insightful post in which he poses the question of whether the much sought after referendum on leaving the EU could end up with the same outcome as on AV last May.
He argues: “..The pro-AV campaign was disunited, poorly articulated, badly led, painfully patronised and hopelessly disorganised. Against all that, its generous and credible funding went absolutely nowhere.
Similarly, on the matter of an EU referendum, we are told time and again that in excess of 50 per cent of the nation would vote to leave the EU tomorrow. And so those who yearn for liberation continue to demand such a referendum. Despite the chronic divisions in the â€˜withdrawalâ€™ camp, the demand is still for this strategy â€“ the success of which would be wholly contingent upon unity, charismatic leadership, creative strategy, credible patronage and very generous funding….
The disparate, swivel-eyed, little-Englander, extremist, Right-Wing Withdrawalists would be up against the unified, enlightened at utterly reasonable voices of the entire Establishment â€“ Government, BBC, Church (CofE and RC), and even the Monarchy itself…“
The polling ahead of the 1975 EEC referendum had the withdrawal side well ahead yet when it came to the election the country divided by 67.2% to 32.8% – a split which interestingly is within one point of what we saw on May 5th 2010 on the voting system.
The latest MORI issues polling continues to suggest that a very small proportion of voters are interested enough in the EU to name it as an “issue facing the country”. This month its down from 5% to 4% and this has come at a time when there’s been so much news about the crisis in the Euro-zone.
In England, at least there seems to be a reluctance to vote against the status quo when referenda have been held.
Thus over the past decade there have been 37 referenda in specific local authority areas on whether they should have directly elected mayors. Twelve have been passed and 25 rejected by the voters. Turnout levels, when no simultaneous election has been held on the same day, have been down as low as 10%.
Cramner, I believe, is on to something here. If there was an “In-Out” EU referenda then it could go the way of AV.