Wednesday 1 November 2017

Silent majorities

It was Richard Nixon who did most to popularise the phrase ‘silent majority’, but it’s become one of the most over-used phrases amongst politicians who generally want to claim that the majority are on their side in spite of the lack of any substantive evidence.  The claim by Spanish unionists, duly repeated and echoed by the BBC and other so-called ‘impartial’ media sources that the ‘silent majority’ of Catalans are against independence, and that if everyone had voted in the referendum, the independentistas would have lost is just one of the latest examples. 
It’s true that, on a 100% turnout, and assuming that everyone who didn’t vote would have voted against independence, the unionists would have won.  I’ve touched on the actual figures before; the problem with that assertion is that it makes too many assumptions, amongst them that the deceased could not only have voted enthusiastically, but would also have unanimously voted against independence.  Given the actual figures that we do have, it’s hard to see on any turnout less than 99% how the unionists could ever have won; and I find it hard to believe that, even on a very good day, the turnout could have been higher than 90%.  70% is a much more likely figure, and with 37.8% already having been counted as voting yes, the yes side had an unassailable lead.
But here’s the thing: there is only one way of ever knowing what the majority really think and that’s to allow them a free vote.  If the Spanish unionists really believe that they are speaking for the majority, they have an easy way of proving it.  The fact that they are so unwilling to take that path speaks volumes.  They’re only interested in votes which produce the ‘right’ outcome – after all, they’ve already indicated that, if the Catalans dare to elect the ‘wrong’ people to their parliament, they’ll simply be forced to vote again until they get it right.

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