There is good evidence to support a thesis that a substantial number of people do not actually make up their minds until they have a pencil in their hand and are looking at the ballot paper. It is then that the "fear" motivation is at its strongest. And it is my view that Vote Leave and the other main "leave" campaigns simply failed sufficiently to address the economic impact of leaving.
In fact, by specifically rejecting continued participation in the Single Market, Vote Leave seems to have gone out of its way to ensure that we would lose what I believe was a winnable contest. This crass intervention, in my view, will prove to be the single most important factor in driving voters into the "remain" camp.
: If we have lost, the fight goes on. This hasn't been a free and fair fight, but one characterised by a Prime Minister who has elevated political lying to an art form, starting with his
renegotiation and his non-treaty. I feel no obligation to take this result as final, and will continue to work for an independent Britain.
The immediate task will be to identify the reasons why we lost. The official Vote Leave campaign will already be polishing its excuses, ready to come up with the conclusion that its was everybody else's fault except theirs. Pete North, however, has already published two posts,
, looking at some of the problem areas. It will come as not surprise for you to learn that he (rather like his father) is looking to the execrable conduct of the campaign for his answers.
: For what it's worth, I think we're going to lose - a prediction where I sincerely hope I'm wrong. To those I've been talking to privately, I've been saying this consistently throughout the campaign. If there is a poll error (YouGov gives "remain" 52 percent and "leave" 48 percent), I think it will be in understating the margin. I expect there to be at least a ten-point gap, and possibly more - closer to the 1975 result.
Then as you will recall, the result was 67.2 percent in favour of continued membership of the "Common Market", with a turnout of 64.5 percent. The registered electorate at that time was 40,456,886 human beings - plus Ted Heath.
: It's going to be a very long night, says somebody. Is anyone recording the cliché rate (measured in clichés per minute - cps)? This is going to be agony - a procession of talking heads on the idiot's lantern, people who I didn't want to listen to during the campaign, and the very people who have nothing to say to me now.
: Polls closed. Why is it that ITV feels the need to have a moronic drumbeat to accompany its announcements?
: The BBC's Nick Robinson is complaining that the referendum campaign has been a "deeply demoralising experience". Both sides, he says, have acted in a "deeply misleading way". When the campaign is over, he adds: "I don't think that we will look back and think that we had a healthy debate of the issues".
: Even the Metro
via Ben Kelly
- can acknowledge "Flexit" (sic). But not the mighty Telegraph
: Stephen Bush in the New Statesman
has just discovered that the splits in society are not defined by left and right brought to light by a divisive referendum campaign. To us, it is interesting how many times we have to write that "they catch up eventually. We were writing about this stuff in early 2011
and again later
the same year. And what we were saying then is just as true now, even if it takes this referendum to make people notice.
: Interesting piece by Allister Heath in the Telgraph
. This is Flexcit
by any other name, but nicely sanitised so the ideas don't have to be attributed. I'm told I should be pleased that our ideas are at last "getting out there", and of course I am. And you can't patent or copyright such ideas. But, all the same, while we get that warm glow of satisfaction from seeing them in print, having salarymen plagiarise or steal them doesn't pay the bills. Gradually, stage-by-stage
, Heath is stealing our work. After a few more articles, he will own it.
: I am not sure I can get my head round the idea of legions of clerks, armed with erasers, secretly rubbing out "leave" votes and replacing them with votes for the other side. However, when it comes to the use of pens
, it was instructive to note that we were offered that option at our polling station. I forgot to ask whether one could mark the box in blood
preferably from somebody else.
: "Dougan the Dishonest" has posted a transcript
of his little venture into mendacity. And, on the main webpage
we are told that he "analyses the substance of each viewpoint and delivers an informed assessment of the UK's potential future position, both as a member of the EU and in the wake of a vote to leave".
That, quite demonstrably, is untrue. Self-evidently, the man is not analysing the substance
of each viewpoint. Had that been the case, he would not merely have said of the legal review, "it will have to be done very, very quickly". He would have to have said that "some" (i.e., himself and supporters) thought it would have to be done quickly. Others suggest that it could be done at a more leisurely pace.
Not anywhere, though, is there any attempt to give an assessment of both viewpoints. This is quite clearly advocacy, promoting the "remain" cause.
Then, on the website, we get the disclaimer: "Professor Dougan is an employee of the University of Liverpool. He does not work for, undertake paid consultancy for, or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article".
Yet, he is the holder of a Jean Monnet chair, and the post
is financed by the European Union. For sure, the money is not paid to Dougan directly. It is paid to the University, and they pay him. Why does the University not see fit to state this? What has it got to hide?
: Just been out to vote. The clerks report they've already done more business than they do in a full day. There were queues waiting to get in at five to seven.
: The Electoral Commission reports that 46,499,537 have registered to vote. Most of them are people. This is a record for a UK poll. Early reports have people queuing to cast their votes.
: On this day, in the year 930, the world's oldest parliament, the Icelandic Parliament, the Alþingi (anglicised as Althing or Althingi), was established. Particularly attractive features of this assembly were that it was held in the open air and the delegates were required to stand throughout the proceedings.
: Latest opinion poll from Ipsos Mori (via Britain elects, on Twitter) has the "remains" on 52 percent (up five points) and the "leaves" on 48 percent (down five points). This is a telephone poll and the "don't knows" have been excluded.
Through the day and into the night, on this historic day, I'll keep a running blog going, adding to is as events demand. In the meantime, you are more than welcome to treat this as an open thread. And I'm glad my part in the event is being recognised, at last. I'll let you into a secret ... this North is voting to leave. The North not in the North will as well. The Norths have it?
Interestingly, the dishonest Dougan
spat rumbles on. Last night, we received this (below) from Liverpool University.
This raises an interesting point, as we are sternly told that, even if we disagree with Dougan's view, it is "honestly held". That, by all accounts, makes him an honest man.
One didn't realise quite the degree to which sophistry is part of the academic's armoury these days, combined with an overweening arrogance that elevates them - in their own minds - to demi-god status, superior to us mere mortals. What they never seem to realise is that some of us have been there before, and might know a little bit more than they do. That never even occurs to them. In their reality, it is probably not even possible.
What Dougan - and his employers - are neglecting is that the brave professor is not a common and garden "ordinary man". He presents himself as an expert, implying that he is independent, setting himself up in judgement over the "leave" campaign.
The thing is, the moment you set yourself up as an "expert", the rules change. On the one hand, you are claiming that special status and demanding that your "expert opinion" be respected. But with that status comes special responsibilities. You are not allowed to retreat behind the defence of ignorance, the ignorance of an ordinary man, and claim protection from the charge of "dishonesty" on the basis that you didn't know. You cannot concede that you may be wrong, "but the views were honestly held", if any real expert could recognise the error.
That is the ordinary man's defence. It is not available to the expert. If you claim expertise, then you are expected to project the state of the art. To claim you are an expert and then not give a rounded, expert opinion - instead offering a limited, partisan view - is in itself dishonest. And, with that in mind, I have replied in these (for me) relatively gentle terms.
Dougan, in fact - whether he realises it or not - has stepped off the expert "plinth" and got stuck in the street fight, dishing it out to all and sundry. As such, he cannot claim any special privileges. As an expert, he should have known he was talking rubbish. If he didn't know he was talking rubbish, then he's not an expert. He can't have it both ways.