By the end of the next term of government whoever gains power on or after June 8th could wish they had considered the referendum results a little more carefully.
As well as young voters (age 18-24) claiming that the Leave campaign was won by voters in the 65 and over age group, it can also be said that the Remain campaign was lost by the poor turnout of their own age group. Consequently the engagement of the 18-24 age group in electoral contest is critical if the kind of society they aspires to is ever to be delivered.
However expressed it was the commitment of the electorate in the 65+ age group as well as the apathy of the 18-24 age group that has led to the situation in which the country now finds itself: led by politicians who are hell-bent on leaving the European Union (EU) in spite of the likely negative impacts both socially, economically and, ironically, politically.
Assuming ‘Brexit’ cannot be stopped, whatever else the next Government does, it will be remembered for being the one that presided over the process of Britain’s divorce from the EU. This could very well backfire politically; what happens when the heavily pro-leave voters die and are replaced by heavily pro-remain voters?
Take the figures in Fig.1 below combined with life expectancy at age 65, calculated to be 20 years (average across male and female) and age related demographic percentages interpolated from official statistics in Fig.2.
Fig.1 [Source: YouGov.com]
Fig.2 [Source: Office for National Statistics] Interpolated from 2014 figures and 2024 projections
A projection of how the aging and dying population in the 65 and over age group is likely to alter the leave/remain balance in the electorate can be drawn, shown below in Fig.3. The calculations for the graph in Fig.3 assume that the current 18-64 age group vote consistently as they age and that young people entering the electorate vote consistently with their peer group.
Fig.3 [Compiled by britsagainstbrexit.org.uk]
It can be seen clearly in the short term how the result in June 2016 (first column on left) narrows to almost 50/50 in year 6 (5 years from now), and in the early part of year 7 the balance switches and continues to strengthen in favour of remaining in the EU.
Nearly a year on from the referendum and a snap general election has been called by Theresa May in an effort to capitalise on what she believes to be weaknesses in the opposition parties, however the timing of this election means that the end of the next term falls at the end of year 6 on the graph, just at the point where popular sentiment swings in favour of EU membership.
Much of the next term of Government will be spent negotiating and fighting protracted legal battles, at vast cost, related to Britain’s departure from the EU. Over the same period the social and economic impacts will also become abundantly clear. Putting aside the travesty of ‘Brexit’ and irresponsible short termism of its pursuance, the combined effect of all these factors could make the next Government unelectable for a very long time.
Compiled by britsagainstbrexit.org.uk
11 May 2017