19 February 2017

Peter Mandelson and Alternative Facts

From the transcript, the first question that Marr (AM) put to Mandelson (M) this morning: 


 AM: Peter Mandelson, Brexit is going to happen, isn’t it?

 M: The question Andrew is, on what terms? And what we’ve learned since the referendum and obviously the government has to respect, and parliament has to respect the decision, the majority decision expressed in the referendum, even though it represented only 37 per cent of the public who voted to leave. …

Only 37%?  Wasn’t the result 51.89% Leave, 48.11% Remain (I certainly thought so when I posted this the other day)?

But the turnout was 72.21% and, guess what, 72.21% of 51.89% is 37.47%, hence Mandelson’s “37 per cent”. However, on that basis the Remain vote would be 72.21% of 48.11%, ie 34.7%. And, anyway, it wasn’t “37 per cent of the public who voted” – perhaps the non-voters didn’t care or didn’t know, they can’t be assumed to be Remainers!

Mandelson always regarded himself as the architect of Blair’s 1997 election victory when Labour secured a 179 seat majority. Using Mandelson’s measure above, Labour’s 43.2% of the votes cast on a 71.3% turnout would have amounted to “31 per cent of the public who voted”!

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