51.9%.On referendum has had a huge impact

51.9%.On the 23rd of June, 2016,  51.9% of the “United” Kingdom decided they wanted to challenge the sovereignty of the European Union, and in an historic referendum, voted to leave and become a sovereign state themself.

The whole world was shocked by the monumental decision, as was half of the country, or to be exact, 48.9%. More than 30 million people showed up to cast their vote, so almost 15 million people who cast their vote effectively lost. Many people, including me, in their liberal bubbles, never expected the referendum to go this way. During the period of time leading up to the referendum and even after, the lies and “facts” told by the Leave Party were heavily reported on, but typically only  by left-wing people. Amidst all of this, I wonder to what extent were voters during Brexit able to discern facts from the lies perpetrated by members of the Vote Leave Party, such as Boris Johnson? Vote Leave was a political campaign for leaving the European Union during 2016, founded in October 2015 by political strategists Matthew Elliot and Dominic Cummings as a cross-party campaign; involving Members of Parliament from: the Conservatives, Labour, and the sole UK Independence Party MP. Labour MP Gisela Stuart served as Chairman and leader of the Vote Leave Campaign Committee as Co-Convenor with Michael Gove MP, of the Conservatives. The campaign was also supported by a number of prominent politicians; including outgoing Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who became a key figurehead for Vote Leave, as well as Nigel Farage who was the leader of the UK Independence Party at the time.

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Locally the referendum has had a huge impact on Britain. Politically the day right after the referendum, their Prime Minister stepped down, leading to a new Prime Minister stepping in. Socially, it has lead to more divide in their society than ever, in terms of the wave of racism immigrants were faced with leading up to and still present after the vote, and in terms of the people who voted to leave and those who voted to remain. No one is able to see the other side’s side. The first question is, did the Vote Leave party actually make any statements that were wholly false? Yes, the leaders made use of soft power, and spread their propaganda in a multitude of ways, through distasteful posters like this (Nigel Farage’s immigrant poster), to the lies they spread to their citizens, through not only their speeches but also social media. They made statements such as “£350m extra a week could be found to fund the NHS if break free from the EU” – money that even now, more than a year later has not been reallocated to fund the NHS or has even been found in general.

“Turkey’s – “population 75 million” – was about to join the EU” – when the President of the European Commission has stated that this wasn’t going to happen in the foreseeable future. “The Schengen system forbids countries from carrying out systematic checks on anyone with an EU passport from entering the EU. This makes it much easier for jihadists to enter from the Middle East” – In fact, unlike most countries the UK does not have to adhere to the Schengen system, primarily because it did not sign the Schengen agreement. It had full control over its borders even while part of the UK and could make as many checks as it wished. “Leaving the single market would be fast, simple and easy” – This was more objective, but it has been a year and a half, and agreements were just reached on the 8th of December, with the transition set for the 29th of March. It has not been fast, and if one asked anyone in the British Government, it was definitely not simple and easy deciding on the “divorce amounts.

“But even now, to this day, more and more lies are being uncovered and presented to the, again, primarily left-ist media. This again leads me back to the big question: to what extent were the voters able to discern the facts from the lies? Last year post-truth was named Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year. We are living in a post-truth and post-factual, highly globalised society now, in which lies are being held in the same regard as truth. The combination of populist movements with social media is often held responsible for post-truth politics.

Individuals have growing opportunities to shape their media consumption around their own opinions and prejudices, and populist leaders are ready to encourage them. The problem is the oversupply of facts in the 21st century: There are too many sources, too many methods, with varying levels of credibility, depending on who funded a given study and how the eye-catching number was selected. This makes it so probably most of the class, and I, can look at our various “trusted sources” and remain educated on the matter, but still stay in our liberal bubble. Others can look at their various sources for media and recieve “facts” not supported by evidence – I believe in America they call these alternative facts – and do one of two things: believe them, or simply disregard them. They don’t care that their politicians are lying. They care more about the overall message and the belief of the party. Manuel Castells, a Spanish sociologist, associated with the idea of information society and communications research, says that Brexit represents a need to affirm the national sovereignty of England.

Who supported the Brexit? The working classes. The least educated. The elderly. These people, according to Castells, represent social movements made up of people who didn’t feel represented by their corrupt political system, and also needed to be anchored around an identity.

He says “The search for meaning takes place in the reconstruction of defensive identities around communal principles.” Zygmunt Bauman, a Polish Sociologist commonly referred to as the ‘prophet of postmodernity’, similarly said that “The British referendum was the rare, well-nigh unique chance to unload their long accumulated, blistering/festering anger against the establishment as a whole.” Noam Chomsky, a US linguistic theorist and highly radical intellectual, says that neoliberal policies are to blame as they transfer power from public institutions to markets and deregulate financial institutions while failing to benefit ordinary people, leading to surges in anti-establishment movements.

All three of them support the notion that people are voting with emotion, and are just against current establishments. On a global scale, this is not just an issue affecting the UK, but also the world’s leading superpower, the United States. They have elected a president who coined the phase “alternative fact” and “fake news”, who makes stories and changes them several times. One of Trump’s made dangerous accusations, such as how millions immigrants voted illegally in the 2016 elections, a claim that directly attacks the legitimacy of the American democracy. People like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson can sit in the comfort of their homes, or stand in front of the general public (or even Parliament), and say (or tweet) anything they want, and face almost zero accountability for it.

Again, to me, someone who reads primarily liberal news, it seems as if the United States are on the brink of getting justice with Donald Trump’s impending impeachment, but I am sure that other newspapers would be painting a different picture, and there in face is no accountability. Globally, we’re facing the problem of lies being held in the same regard as facts, and people relying more on emotions than logic when making important decisions that will impact their country. According to the Huffington Post, Leave members voted Leave, “for control over the laws of this country, and the patronising suggestion we are gullible idiots is quite frankly ridiculous.

” Essentially, they voted to leave for the idea of self-sovereignty. The Dailymail adds on to this saying “Crucially, the Leave campaign key message that now is the time for Britain to take control of its own destiny had the biggest impact on the country’s voters”Some may look at this positively. People are choosing to look at the bigger picture, and ignore or not catch the smaller misdemeanours. They wanted to leave the EU, they did not care how or at what cost and they did not care what their politicians were saying, and making up, to convince them. Similarly, they just wanted to stop illegal immigrants – they don’t care about who builds it or who pays for it, or any of the small details. They are voting from their heart and with conviction.


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