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EU Referendum

June 25, 2016

Woke up the other day surprised to see that the UK had decided to leave the EU. Take out London and most of the rest of England voted to leave at around 57-43. Scotland voted to remain at around 60-40. As did London. Another surprise for me initially was the polls showing that young voters were more likely to vote in. I remember seeing a BBC pro EU propaganda piece early in the campaign that quite in reverse to this, boldly stated that younger people would be more likely to vote out. The point of that particular piece, of course clearly was not about facts, as it is reverse of the facts as it turned out, but it was a subtle piece of attempted delegitimization of people’s motives who wanted to leave, suggesting they were young, inexperienced, naive etc.

This subtle manipulation, uniformly pro EU across all the major TV channels, pervaded the whole campaign, and successfully swayed large numbers of younger voters for whom what the TV says is more real than what they see outside their window. It was a tiring few weeks having to spot and repel all this attempted manipulation of your basic motivational drives to act. And all the attempted shaming of leave voters on social media such as Facebook. Basically it was a case of trying to demonize and polarise people into an untenable position from which they would then no longer be motivated to act. This process is continuing afterwards by shocked people who cannot believe what the TV told them was so, turned out not to be so.

It has been a learning experience for me, and I think for many people, we were more prepared for these tactics after similar tactics were used to scared Scottish people out of leaving the UK. This was still fresh in people’s minds, and I think was a decisive factor. All in all, not an awful lot changes, economic arrangements will still be made with the EU, the difference is we will be free to decide our own economic arrangements with countries outside the EU.

Through all the bad arguments, through all the ad hominem character attacks, through all the attempted demonisation, the attempted shaming, the appeals to authority insteady of reason, people in large numbers ignored it all, or fought against it all, and stuck with the conviction they felt inside. It is an interesting time now that lies ahead.


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