Today’s ruling that A50 must pass through parliament like anything else is the first, hopefully of many, victory for common sense since the referendum.
How MPs will vote is still up for discussion. Will sensible Tories revolt? Maybe. Will Labour find a backbone? Probably not. Will both parties’ Remain supporting MPs feel pressured into ignoring their own sense of what’s best and ‘accepting democracy’? Let’s hope not.
People have pointed out that if the referendum had been a general election, done under FPTP and current constituency boundaries, it would have been an overwhelming Leave win.
This is true, but I’m not sure anyone has tried adjusting the data for the fact that turnout was significantly higher than the average recent general election, meaning that a percentage of votes either side are irrelevant. 2015 was a local maximum with a turnout of 66% while the referendum was at 72%. That means that 10% (note: percent, not percentage points) of votes in the referendum can be discarded.
The FT identified a number of factors that correlate with voting Leave:
- Lack of education,
- Lack of employment in professional occupations (follows from 1)
- Lower income (follows from 2)
All of these things except age are good predictors of staying at home on election day. Even age doesn’t work fully in the Leavers’ favour as it means their supporters are more likely to be dead come the next election, which will be a growing problem for them over the next few years (but probably not a deciding factor if Mrs May triggers an election in Spring 2017, which I still think she will).
In short: you can’t rely on Leave voters to vote at a general election.
Any MP voting to allow brexit may think they have numbers on their side right now, but when it comes down to it, actual voters are not usually forgiving of politicians who make them worse off.