Brexit whistleblower: ‘They cheated. It’s a lie, the whole thing’
The vote itself was fair. The referendum campaign, spending, data use and consequences are concerning.
The vote itself was free and fair. Voters wrote a pencil cross in a box. There were more votes to leave than to remain. There was no evidence of vote rigging or intimidation in the polling stations.
Everything else was shoddy, opportunist and self indulgent. Meanwhile several public offices are undertaking their own investigations into possible referendum irregularities.
The legislation enabling the referendum was shoddy. It wasn’t legally binding, provided no legal authority, no process or no ministerial means to deliver the result to leave the EU. Important stake holders were excluded (principally EU Citizens living in the UK and UK Citizens resident for over 15 years in the EU).
The result of all this was inevitable. There was a failed government legal challenge to block a parliamentary Article 50; the terms of Brexit will not be subject to another referendum and Brexit’s vision and version has been largely determined by the Conservative party.
The referendum provided an opportunity to anyone and everyone to promote their own interests. Boris Johnson’s leadership aspirations, Nigel Farage’s media publicity and a diet of exceptionalism as illustrated by Michael Gove’s “we hold all the cards” campaign message.
The public lapped it up, because the referendum campaign allowed voters to express discontent with their own circumstances, the political elite and austerity. The EU referendum provided an opportunity for any and every kind of political points scoring.
Spending and data manipulations are a post referendum feature. Leave supporters highlight government leaflet spending; a BeLeave whistblower is going to the Electoral Commission alleging over spending and the Information Commission is investigating several digital software companies for possible data irregularities.
Perhaps the referendum campaign and Brexit can be summed like this.