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AIBU to wonder why there isn't this angst over parliamentary or local elections

(30 Posts)
TimeforaNNChange Thu 23-Jun-16 14:04:35

I've lost count of the number of FB and forum posts I've read from people today who are worried about 'making the wrong decision' and 'disliking the responsibility' of having a vote in the referendum. Yet these are the same people who are blasé about local and parliamentary elections - describing candidates as all the same, placing their vote arbitrarily, or not at all.

But the referendum is not binding - MPs still have to decide what to do AFTER we, the public, have expressed our opinion; and many of the MPs who will be making that decision have been elected by people who really didn't give their choice of MP much thought at all.

AIBU to think "we" should give the same level of thought in selecting our elected representatives as we are to the referendum?

icanteven Thu 23-Jun-16 14:09:56

People don't realise it's not binding. In reality, it's a bloody expensive opinion poll. Financial Times - Can the United Kingdom government legally disregard a vote for Brexit?

branofthemist Thu 23-Jun-16 14:20:04

I think it's because a lot of people don't see any major difference between the main parties anymore or the MPs.

Also GE are more regular than an EU referendum. So we are used to that.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Thu 23-Jun-16 14:24:38

Because a General Election is every 5 years. This referendum is once in a lifetime (as far as we know). It's way more important.

Ambroxide Thu 23-Jun-16 14:24:45

Also, if we decide we don't like the Tories we can go back to Labour at the next election or vice versa. If we vote out, we can't reverse that decision once taken (well, we might be able to join again in time, but not without accepting the Euro and all kinds of other things we might not like much).

Alfieisnoisy Thu 23-Jun-16 14:26:49

It's been an absolutely hateful campaign ...and I am at the point of not wanting to be a part of the human race any longer. Have seen some horrific things posted and heard some horrible this from those who are family and friends. Feel like going NC eith the lot of them at the moment.

trixymalixy Thu 23-Jun-16 14:26:59

It might not be binding, but it will set in motion something that will be irreversible. It's way more important than a general election.

OneArt Thu 23-Jun-16 14:27:53

Agree with the 'once every 5 years' aspect.

Also, I think it might be partly because every vote counts equally. In the last general election, I knew that my constituency was very very likely to vote in a certain candidate, so my individual vote wouldn't make any difference.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 23-Jun-16 14:29:43

I am passionate about voting. But the major parties are all basically power-hungry fascists so I see why people just can't be bothered. Also first past the post is useless and demotivates people.

wasonthelist Thu 23-Jun-16 14:37:22

Yanbu to wonder, but there are plenty of reasons for the different attitude. Just to cite one, my vote in this referendum is much more significant. In every GE but one (I have moved around a lot) my vote has been a waste since a nematode worm with a blue rosette would have been eleven in our ridiculous system, and I have never voted Tory. This time my vote actually counts.

wasonthelist Thu 23-Jun-16 14:39:20

Eleven=elected grrr

TimeforaNNChange Thu 23-Jun-16 14:40:33

Also, I think it might be partly because every vote counts equally.

But it doesn't, does it? Because no matter what you, or anyone else, votes in this referendum - you have to trust the MPs in power to act on it.

How many people considered that fact when they voted in the last General Election?

TimeforaNNChange Thu 23-Jun-16 14:42:41

There's a subtle but very distinct difference between 'your vote counts' and 'your vote will be counted'.

Yes, a single vote can change the overall outcome of the referendum but it has absolutely no purpose other than to express an opinion to the MPs who have already been elected.

OneArt Thu 23-Jun-16 14:44:27

But it still makes a difference (of some kind). My previous vote made literally no difference.

TimeforaNNChange Thu 23-Jun-16 14:52:43

A difference to what, oneart? I'm not being deliberately obtuse, I just can't see how the democratic equivalent of a 'show of hands' is more significant than deciding who acts on that show of hands!

eyebrowse Thu 23-Jun-16 15:01:11

I think there would be riots and worse if the government ignored the referendum

The other reason is that we get a parliamentary election every 5 years but we may never get another chance to be in the EU

TimeforaNNChange Thu 23-Jun-16 15:07:20

I think there would be riots and worse if the government ignored the referendum

I'm sure there would - but how confident can we be that the people who were elected a year ago will accept the mandate from the people via the Referendum?
What if a significant majority refuse - abstain or even resign rather than vote in line with the referendum result?

HermioneJeanGranger Thu 23-Jun-16 15:48:14

I'm pretty sure no government would ignore the results of the referendum. It would be political suicide.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Thu 23-Jun-16 16:20:33

I didn't realise the result wouldn't necessarily be binding, I imagine that many won't.

Choosing to vote 'yes' or 'no' is more accessible to people who don't usually follow politics and feel uncertain about which party to vote for.
Many, many people live in safe seats where they feel their vote is wasted.
At the last GE I heard a lot of apathy that many people liked neither party, and were voting for the 'least worst'- hardly motivating.
People can vote for their first choice in a yes/ no referendum- in most GEs I have had to vote tactically for my vote to have an impact, and that is demoralizing.

PickleSarnie Thu 23-Jun-16 17:02:59

My vote for lib dem in the general election in an area that has been staunchly conservative for decades wasn't going to affect anything. I voted because I felt the need to exercise my democratic right but knew I wasn't going to ultimate get who I wanted in government.

This referendum is a choice between 2 options though. And isn't something that can be changed 5 years down the line. My vote may actually count this time.

icanteven Thu 23-Jun-16 17:03:16

As far as I can remember from a few days ago, 68% of MPs and the leaders of all parties bar one are staunchly in favour of remaining in the EU. I'm not sure that their opinion or actions will be swayed by the leave campaign winning by a whisker, which is the best it can hope for if it wins. Although that seems unlikely now anyway, thank goodness.

LunaLoveg00d Thu 23-Jun-16 17:04:58

I would have thought that was obvious....

General elections and council elections are every 5 years, if you don't agree with the result then you have an opportunity to vote for something else next time round.

This is a one off. There is no second chance or changing your preferences next time.

howtorebuild Thu 23-Jun-16 17:06:21

There may be riots whatever the result.

TimeforaNNChange Thu 23-Jun-16 19:44:58

General elections and council elections are every 5 years, if you don't agree with the result then you have an opportunity to vote for something else next time round

But the person you elect as your MP is making once-in-a-lifetime decisions on a regular basis in the House of Commons on your behalf! Whether we go to war, whether we enter into specific trade deals, whether we privatise a public service etc.
Even at a local level, Local Councillors decide whether to permit a housing development on a particular area, whether to agree to a heritage building being converted to a nightclub, whether to continue to clean beaches or not. Not as significant as membership of the EU, but still "once in a lifetime" decisions and no less important to that communities involved.

I just think it's a little disingenuous to be so invested in a Referendum, but not give much (if any) consideration to the elected officials who are making similar decisions on a monthly basis.

ForalltheSaints Thu 23-Jun-16 20:17:56

We can get rid of the Tories in 2020 if we wish. Leave the EU and we can never come back on the same terms, if at all.

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