Brexit: Are You Qualified to Vote?

I should probably start off by laying my cards on the table: I am not a gambler. The only loan I’ve ever had is an overdraft, the only debt a mortgage; I use a cashback credit card, which is paid off immediately every month, and I pay my bills in full rather than spreading the payments and incurring higher costs. If I can’t afford something, I simply don’t have it – and quite often I still don’t have it even when I can afford it. That may sound like self-imposed austerity, but for me it’s plain common sense: it’s the reason I’m always in the black these days.

I’m also predisposed to anxiety. Quite possibly this is the underlying reason for my almost obsessive avoidance of debt and gambling. The idea of a commission-based salary appals me (I once renegotiated terms for a new job to a modest but guaranteed income). I like to earn my wage rather than relying on luck or good fortune.

So it stands to reason that I’m an innie. I’m not talking about my midriff, but the impending referendum.

Brexit: Are YOU Qualified to Vote?

Last night I took part in a crowdsourcing post for a blogger pal, and in reading my peers’ comments I was left deeply perturbed and compelled to write this piece. This may be a good time to point out that I am not a politician or involved with them in any way at all, but neither am I an idiot. In fact, my fear is that I don’t think any of those whose comments disconcerted me are idiots either…

When the referendum was first announced, my immediate reaction was that this was a good thing. We live in a democratic society after all, so of course we should have a say in whether or not to remain in the EU. Emily Davison made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure women have this right, and we should all respect her memory by taking advantage of this privilege.

Except it’s not quite that straightforward, is it?

When I began to look into the arguments for and against Brexit, I felt mildly ignorant. The more I read and listened to, the more confused I became. I started to think perhaps I am an idiot after all, and therefore not qualified to vote. Because I don’t know about you, but I vehemently believe that every UK citizen should be allowed to vote only if they’re informed about the subject in which they’re casting said vote – I’d be all for a mini-exam to establish eligibility.

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Brexit: Are YOU Qualified to Vote?

So feeling uneducated about the referendum, I turned to the oracles also known as my brothers. They are both intelligent, successful businessmen with their heads screwed on. I can always count on them to explain those things which go over my head (physics, algebra, football – politics).

Only this is where I started to become agitated about the reality of the referendum: they were as clueless as I. I wasn’t being as dense as I feared; the fact of the matter is nobody really knows what will happen if we leave. My brothers explained it perfectly:

One said,

‘Too many vested interests. I don’t trust anything anyone says. Just go for what you prefer idealistically because you’ll never get sufficient info to decide on practicalities.’

And the other,

‘Better the devil you know… Idealistically I’d rather be out but I think the risks/unknowns of leaving far outweigh any concrete bad aspects of being in. If I vote it will be to stay.’

Reassuring, huh?

Of course, these are opinions of two guys you don’t know, so why should you care what they have to say? Perhaps you shouldn’t. But I should, because they’re my family and they are clever guys, who want the best for their families – and that includes me. Unlike the politicians, they have no agenda in telling me their opinions.

Brexit: Are YOU Qualified to Vote?

Essentially, the facts are unclear because that’s how they’re being presented to us – there are no black and white answers. My fear, therefore, is that people will jump on a bandwagon without so much as familiarising themselves with David Cameron’s EU renegotiations. The difference between this situation and a normal governmental election, of course, is there’s unlikely to be an option to change our minds in a few years’ time should Brexit blow up in our faces…

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And so I’m left deeply troubled by the situation.

Not least because it is being suggested that the outcome of a football tournament could affect the way people vote.

I find this incredible on two levels:

  1. Whose bright idea was it to allow the referendum to take place during UEFA Euro 2016? The very same people who we can’t trust to give us the answers we need to make an educated decision about whether to stay or leave… Hardly inspires confidence, does it?Brexit: Are YOU Qualified to Vote?
  2. How is it that what’s (technically) a game can influence people so intrinsically, about such a critical issue? Again, hardly inspires confidence…

Of equal concern is the fact that a massive generational divide is being touted. And according to a poll for the Daily Telegraph, it’s those who are in favour of change that are most likely to vote. Essentially, this leaves those of who are inclined towards the status quo at a distinct disadvantage – unless we act.

Personally, I feel ill-equipped to vote and question the wisdom in putting this vote to the public. As I mentioned, we do of course have an ethical right to vote; we’re morally and legally permitted to do so.

But are we qualified?

Ultimately, this is a question for each of us to ask our conscience. As for my brothers and I, you’ve really no reason to listen to our opinions; perhaps you’d fare better taking note of the tit for tat propaganda peddled by the government…



An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is an experienced breastfeeding advocate, and expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.


  1. I’m not that into politics either so often need my husband to expalin the big picture to me x

  2. I’m not that into politics either so often need my husband to expalin the big picture to me x

  3. Kate Tunstall Reply

    I worry about the turn out. I’m anxious and curious to know the outcome… X

  4. Alison (MadHouseMum) Reply

    We are unequipped to vote and there shouldn’t be a referendum! We’re just being fed what they want us to hear. Nobody really knows. I was on the fence until a few days ago and then someone said to me: look at who is in the out camp and look at who is in the in camp – there are a bunch of tossers in the out camp, so I’m voting IN! Thanks for your post, very true. Alison #TheList

    • Kate Tunstall Reply

      I think it’s going to be a very close run thing. Thanks for commenting! X

  5. I’ve become depressed about the whole process, especially now the one-track spin about immigration has essentially turned into both sides peddling lies that appeal to the lowest-common denominator.

    What saddens me the most is that I *am* educated enough to make a decision based on facts – I decided months ago – but I don’t see how any of the political rhetoric and media coverage can possibly help anyone make an informed decision.

    So here we stand, with a nation divided with ill-feeling that will not go away once the referendum is done and mourning the death of an MP who genuinely seemed like a good person. As a UK citizen who is the son of Asian immigrants, I have never felt less welcome in the country I was born in. And that really is an indictment of the mood of the nation currently. #thelist

    • Kate Tunstall Reply

      Tim, that’s awful! I’m embarrassed and ashamed to hear you say that.

      I think you’ve very succinctly summed up what I was trying to express. The fact is, even the most clever/intelligent/educated among us are fighting a losing battle in trying to inform ourselves. And that’s why I’m not convinced any of us are qualified to be voting.

      Of course, my fears will push me to vote anyway – just the same as different strong feelings will motivate others to vote the opposite way.

      My despondency with the referendum is bound up in the fact nobody can possibly be voting for the reasons we *should* vote.

  6. Kate Tunstall Reply

    Exactly, the whole thing makes me very uncomfortable.

  7. Kate Tunstall Reply

    I’d love to know which way you’re voting since it sounds as though you should have a better understanding than most! But I completely understand and respect your reasons for keeping it private.

  8. I voted in because then we have options in the future but out is more of a definite decision, I have been lead to believe. They are all liars and I don’t really feel qualified to make the decision. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

    • Kate Tunstall Reply

      I agree. I’m feeling anxious about tomorrow’s result! X

  9. Kate Tunstall Reply

    I understand. The whole thing has created a terrible divide in the country. It’s horrible and I can’t wait for it to be over.

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