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June quote unquote 


6 JUNE 2019 | THE ACTUARY TEAM
P12 Interview


The forgotten referendum

With reference to Sir John Curtice’s article ‘A matter of public opinion’ I was surprised at some of the views expressed in his final section, ‘Electoral reform’. While I found the history about how proportional representation came to be adopted in many countries interesting, the suggestion that in the UK the two main parties have been able to maintain the first past the post regime simply for their own advantage ignores the fact that, in 2011, a referendum was held on this very subject.

The result of this referendum was a 68% to 32% vote by the public to keep the first past the post system. So far as I recall, this result was accepted by all, even UKIP voters who had been heavily under-represented by the current system in the previous year’s general election.

Perhaps Sir John feels the result was another example of a referendum being won by the ‘less well-educated people’ and hence should be ignored. Based on the known age demographics, I would prefer to refer to the Brexit referendum being won by those of greater maturity and worldly wisdom, whose opportunity to attend university was severely restricted as compared with today’s younger generation.


Peter Wright

18 May 2019


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