The left 48%

Thoughts Before General Election 2017

Karl Handy
3 min readMay 8, 2017


I voted to Remain in the EU and I’m a member of the Green Party. In an ideal world we’d have a left-wing Government as part of the European Union but I’m also a realist and, however much it upsets me, I accept that 52% of voters chose to leave the EU and so that’s what’s going to happen. Referendums are binary and we’re heading out.

As we approach the General Election in a few weeks time I have an important question rattling around my head. Here it is:

In light of all that we have seen and heard since the Referendum, with a Conservative Party seemingly aiming for a hard-Brexit, do Brexit supporters feel that the wishes of the 48% should have any bearing on the process? Are those 16.1 million people now irrelevant because 1.3 million more people wanted something different?

With the answer to that question in mind, what point is there in me voting on June 8th? This is not a flippant question. I used to think that every vote, even with a first-past-the-post system, was important because even if you didn’t vote for the winner your MP would take notice of those who voted for other parties. For example, as a Green voter in a Conservative safe seat I’d expect my MP with 53% of the vote to follow the Tory line and represent the wishes of the the majority who voted for him — but I also hoped that when doing their job they’d bear in mind the other 47% and take into some sort of consideration that almost half their constituents had a different vision for the country than them. By voting Green (or Labour, or Lib Dem, or — shudder — UKIP) in a Conservative safe seat I’d expect to lose but I’d also be making my views known and, however quietly, my voice heard.

Post-referendum, I’m left doubting that absolutely. We have marched towards a hard-Brexit with scant regard being paid to the 48%. We are repeatedly told that Brexit is “the will of the Nation” when actually it’s the “will of 33% of those in the Nation who are eligible to vote”.

Along with over 16 million people I have become a non-person, irrelevant and disregarded. Yes referendums are binary, but surely you have to pay some attention to the will of those who didn’t win? Don’t you?

And so back to June’s election. James Cleverly is going to win this seat. It’s a certainty and he knows it. Unless he does something as stupid as the last one he’ll be my MP until 2022, and even if he does mess up some other Tory will be drafted in and they’ll do the job instead. So who do I vote for, or do I vote at all?

Obviously, I’m going to vote. But…

Vote Green I definitely lose and, in light of what I’ve written above, I have no faith that my non-Tory views will be considered for even a moment over the next 5 years.

Vote Labour tactically and I’m 99% going to lose and again, in light of what I’ve written above, etc. etc.

Vote UKIP or Lib Dem and I’ve somehow got to live with myself…

So who do I vote for? Vote for my beliefs or tactically, and does it make any difference? Is James Cleverly and the Conservative Party in general going to pretend I don’t exist on June 9th or might my vote, and the many millions of votes by people like me, be considered for even a fleeting moment whilst the country is being ripped apart?



Karl Handy

Family, football, cars, gardening, art, music, travel, cloudspotting, meditating, learning new things, & finding warm shade. At other times, I teach at