Votes cast for Brexit could look very different in five years
I think it is widely agreed that the EU referendum presented us with the most momentous and most difficult decision for a long time. Its ramifications will affect us for many years to come. If only we could have left the day after the vote but that was not practicable.
Indeed, what was clear from Mrs May’s Florence speech is that it is going to take at least five years to put our decision into effect. Five years is the distance between two general elections and we frequently change our minds over that period. “That didn’t work, let’s put the other lot in”, we might say to ourselves.
The trouble with Brexit is we cannot keep jumping in and out every few years. It is to be hoped therefore that the decision we took in June 2016 is the settled will of the British people. But is it?
Over the five years 2016 to 2021 two significant things will be happening to the electorate.
Firstly and inevitably some 2.5 million deaths will occur. Statistically amongst the over 65s at the referendum, 75 per cent of this age group voted and of these three quarters voted ‘Leave’. So 1.4 million of those who voted ‘Leave’ will have died before we get there!
The overall majority at the referendum was only 1.3 million!
At the other end of the age profile some 700,000 new 18 year olds are coming on to the electoral register each year. That is 3.5 million over these five years. They will not have had any say at the referendum of course. In the 18-24 age group at the referendum 64 per cent cast their vote and of these two thirds voted ‘Remain’.
If the new voters coming onto the register vote in the same proportions as this therefore that would be an extra 1.5 million for ‘Remain’ and only 750,000 for ‘Leave’.
Assuming all those who voted in the referendum (and are still living in 2021) were of the same mind five years later it is clear that simply through the natural processes of birth and death it cannot be argued that the country is of a settled mind to leave the EU. By 2021 indeed there will be a natural majority to ‘Remain’.
Alex Beyer, Priorslee