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Playing with the Numbers (again)

I’ve noticed various claims about how many people voted to remain in or to leave the EU – which can be interpreted depending on your point of view.

Here’s a typical example, this one from the Scotsman newspaper

https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/brexit-can-a-scottish-court-order-boris-johnson-to-be-imprisoned-1-5015689

The picture (where the banner looks as if it was photo-shopped in) shows the claim:

73% of British Voters did not vote to Leave the EU

Is this True ?

The actual figures, from the Electoral Commission, allow many differing interpretations depending on your point of view.

Results and turnout at the EU referendum

The full results data is available at

Full set of EU referendum result data (csv)

or here.

Some interpretations

What you usually see is that 51.85% of actual votes were cast in favour of leaving the EU and 48.07% were cast in favour of remaining in the EU (with 0.08% of the votes being invalid) from a total of 33,578,037 votes cast.

However, you could also say that, based on the total electorate of 46,500,001 voters , 37.44% voted to Leave, 34.71% voted to Remain, 27.79% did not vote and 0.05% of ballot papers were invalid. ( i.e. 12,921,964 people did not use their vote)

therefore,

62.55% of possible voters did NOT vote to LEAVE the EU

alternatively

65.28% of possible voters did NOT vote to REMAIN in the EU

depending on your point of view.

Similarly votes by region can be interpreted depending on your point of view. For example, in Scotland, there are a possible 3,987,112 votes (electorate) so that based on the total electorate, 41.66% voted to Remain, 25.54% voted to leave, 32.75% did not vote and there were 0.04% invalid votes.

Using this basis,

74.45% of possible voters in Scotland did NOT vote to LEAVE the EU

alternatively

58.33% of possible voters in Scotland did NOT vote to REMAIN in the EU

Electorate by country

Total Electorate in the UK is 46,500,001

England: 38,981,662 (83.83%), 533 MPs

Scotland: 3,987,112.00 (8.6%), 59 MPs

Wales: 2,270,272 (4.88%) 40 MPs

Northern Ireland: 1,260,955 (2.71%) 18 MPs

Getting ready for Brexit campaign

If you think that the UK will ever leave the EU you may want to take a look at a new Government initiative, launched on 1 Sep 2019.

The Government has launched a new public information campaign, “Get Ready for Brexit“, that will be available across TV, Social Media Billboards and other platforms.

Government research shows that only 50% of the population think it’s likely the UK will leave the EU on 31 October, 42% of small-to-medium sized businesses are unsure of how they can get ready and just 31% of the British public have looked for information on how to prepare for Brexit.

The campaign will tackle this head on by setting out what all members of the public and business owners might need to do, if anything, to get ready to leave the EU on 31 October.

Audiences including UK citizens intending to travel to Europe and all exporters to the EU will be targeted, alongside groups requiring particular information such as the equine industry and legal professions.

Some of the key actions audiences need to take include:

  • Acquiring an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number to export to the EU. Businesses that are VAT registered will automatically issued an EORI number, but micro businesses still need to register themselves.
  • Obtaining the correct documents to transport goods at the border.
  • Applying for the vital support packages available for businesses, such as grants.
  • Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said:

    Ensuring an orderly Brexit is not only a matter of national importance, but a shared responsibility.

    This campaign will encourage the country to come together to Get Ready for Brexit on 31 October.

    Advertising accompanied with targeted road shows and events will drive people to GOV.UK, which has a new checker tool so audiences can identify what they need to do to get ready for Brexit quickly.

    https://www.gov.uk/brexit

    https://www.gov.uk/get-ready-brexit-check

    There will be how to videos and step by step guides – so whether you are a small business owner, haulier or EU citizen residing in the UK – the actions you need to take to prepare will be clear and simple.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/get-ready-for-brexit-campaign-launched

    EU Council nominates new leaders

    EU leaders discussed and agreed on nominations for the EU’s top jobs at the Special European Council on 30 June, 1 and 2 July 2019 in Brussels.

    The European Council nominated Charles Michel as President of the European Council. The President of the European Council is elected for the period from 1 December 2019 until 31 May 2022. The mandate of two and a half years of the President of the European Council is renewable once. The European Council also welcomed the decision of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States whose currency is the euro to appoint Charles Michel as President of the Euro Summit, for the same term of office.

    The European Council adopted the decision proposing Ursula von der Leyen to the European Parliament as candidate for President of the European Commission. The proposed candidate will need to be elected by the European Parliament by a majority of its component members.

    The European Council also considered Josep Borrell Fontelles to be the appropriate candidate for High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The formal appointment of the High Representative by the European Council requires the agreement of the President-elect of the Commission.

    The President of the Commission, the High Representative and the other members of the Commission will be subject as a body to a vote of consent by the European Parliament, before the formal appointment by the European Council. Their term of office will last 5 years from the end of the current Commission until 31 October 2024.

    The European Council also considered Christine Lagarde to be the appropriate candidate for President of the European Central Bank. The European Council will take a formal decision on the appointment on the basis of a Council recommendation, after having consulted the European Parliament and the ECB’s Governing Council. The mandate for the President of the European Central Bank is for 8 years non-renewable.

    Yes Minister

    A distraction from the Brexit shenanigans.

    From Series 2 Episode 5 “The Devil you know” Sir Humphrey and Jim Hacker discuss Brussels and why European nations joined the common market.

    Apparently in an election you’re not voting for a Party

    In a recent petition on the Government and Parliaments web-site the response from the Government said

    Formally, electors cast their vote for individual candidates, and not the political party they represent. The Government does not plan to change this constitutional position.

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/242193

    The full response continued

    There is no requirement for a Member of Parliament to stand down and cause a by-election to be held if they decide to leave the party for which they stood and were elected. Formally, electors cast their vote for individual candidates, and not the political party they represent; although it is recognised that many people vote on the basis of party preference. It is generally agreed that a candidate, if elected to the House of Commons, is not deemed to be a delegate of a particular party, and will hold the office to which they have been elected in a personal capacity.

    When a Member of Parliament decides to leave the party for which they were elected, it is for them to decide whether to stand down from their seat in the House of Commons and seek re-election in the subsequent by-election, or to continue to sit in the House of Commons.

    A Member of Parliament who decides to leave the party for which they were elected and to continue to sit in the House of Commons will be required to stand as a candidate at the next General Election if they wish to remain in office.

    Amending the existing law would involve a significant change to our constitutional arrangements, and would raise important issues about the role and status of Members of Parliament, which would need careful consideration. The government currently has no plan to make such changes.

    Cabinet Office.

    This does raise a number of questions such as:

    Is the ballot paper misleading when it includes the candidate’s party as it is suggesting that if you vote for this candidate you are voting for their party ?

    If you are voting for the individual then how can you have a Government of Conservatives ( or Labour etc.) when you are not voting for the party ?

    Why are Election Results presented and interpreted as though you were voting for a party when you voted for the individual ? e.g. “Newport West by-election: Labour holds on to seat

    For elections to the EU Parliament a different system is used.

    Since 1999 voters in Britain have elected MEPs under a proportional representation system. The European Parliamentary Elections Act of that year introduced a regional list system with seats allocated to parties in proportion to their share of the vote.

    So in this case, you ARE voting for a party!! Although you vote for a UK party, this ends up as a different party in the EU Parliament and I’ve no idea what those parties are – so if you vote for Labour in the UK, you may prefer to vote Conservative in order to be in the EU party you support – confusing or what.

    And does your vote matter anyway ? Judging by the EU referendum – if you vote for the winning option, this is still ignored by the “political elite” who believe they know best and ignore the votes.

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