DEBUG: blog_post
"The demographics are on our side"
03 Oct, 2019

That’s not the point

Remainers who suggest demographics mean that we will win the referendum underestimate the scale of the challenge. To settle the question we have to convert six million Leave voters to vote Remain. London4Europe Committee member Michael Romberg writes.


Our aim: to settle the question

We are not trying to scrape over a 50% hurdle. That might decide what happens next but would not solve our problem. The country would still be divided. Leave campaigners would want another shot. The UK would not be an engaged and constructive partner in the EU because the Government would always be looking over its shoulder at the Eurosceptic half of the population.

We have to convert millions of Leave voters to be enthusiastic supporters of Remain. The demographic effects are in the hundreds of thousands and are neither here nor there as regards the result we need. So best to ignore them and focus on the conversion task with soft Leavers.


The demographic argument

The demographics will help us. Older people tend to vote Leave; younger voters tend to support Remain. Older people die; younger people are added to the electoral register. Simples.

The demographic cross-over point has been calculated (assuming nothing else affects voting behaviour): Peter Kellner reckoned that January 2019 was the point that Remain would have the majority.  Two University of Manchester academics estimated that by 2021 Remain would win 52:48.

So if demographics explained everything and no-one voted differently we would win next time round.


It’s in pretty poor taste

Making the point about people dying does not really align with any values that we should support.


It’s not as good as people think it is

Mortality rates amongst the most elderly are obviously higher. They are nearly as pro-EU as millennials.

The old vote. The young don’t. Turnout for voters 65+ is in the 80-90% range; for voters 18-34, in the last general election and the referendum turnout was in the range 57-66%; for the four previous general elections in the range 40-56%.

So much of the increase in support for Remain in the opinion polls is from people who did not vote last time. These are the flakiest voters. The comfort from the polls is built on sand.


It stops Leavers from listening to us

Leavers regard us as nasty for making the argument. That reinforces them in their view and stops them listening to any good point that we wish to make.


It misses the point

In order to settle the question and be able to behave as good Europeans in the Councils of the EU we need to do as well as we did in 1975 on at least the same turnout as 2016. So we have to score at least 67R:33L on a turnout of at least 72%.

So in terms of vote numbers, we have to go from 17.4mL:16.1mR to 11mL: 22.6mR.

That means that six million Leave voters have to switch sides.

We are not going to win on demographics or getting out the student vote.

We are only going to win this vote, settle the argument, put the question to bed, start to heal the country if we have persuaded millions of Leave voters to vote Remain in their own best interests and in the best interests of the country as they see them.

That means a Remain campaign that addresses Leavers’ concerns: sovereignty, community, immigration, freedom. Better get that campaign going now.




The London4Europe blogs page is edited by Nick Hopkinson, Vice-Chair. Articles on this page reflect the views of the author, not necessarily of London4Europe.