24/06/2016

Today's Brexit result vs the Pop Idol final of 2002

So, it's happened, the U.K residents have spoken and voted in favour of leaving the EU. A result I'm very surprised at, given the level of support for the remain campaign I was seeing on the news and on social media.

I saw people drawing comparisons between yesterday's vote on our EU membership and the Pop Idol final in 2002. (Stay with me, this does have a point)

In a rather humorous meme, it said there has been no vote that has split the country more since Gareth vs Will in 2002.  And I think it may have been right.

I was only 10 when I fell in love with Gareth Gates on Pop Idol. He was my winner from the outset and I was heartbroken when he lost to Will.

I don't think the similarities of the two votes end at being divisive, though.

When Will won, I didn't understand why. All my friends at school like Gareth and were voting for him. Everyone I spoke to did. Granted, I was only 10. It's not like I had a huge network of people to get a true representation. But even the news stories were all shock that Will had won. Nobody expected it.

Kind of like the result we've woken up to this morning. As I went to bed last night, the YouGov poll predicted a remain win - 52% to leave's 48%. That didn't shock me too much. This week it has all been about remain.

Every man and his dog seems to have come out to support us staying in the EU. Kicked off by the Beckhams on Monday, it's been one big name after the other telling us why we should remain.

The majority of my Facebook and Twitter has also been strongly remain. So I kind of feel similar feelings to 2001 now - who was voting for leave? Was it the same people who voted Will? Could the remain people have had their pencil crosses erased,, just like there were rumours Gareth's voting number didn't work?

I suppose the only explanation is that people who were voting to leave didn't shout as hard. Just like those who voted for Will Young.

This whole referendum campaign has been horrible. When it was first announced there would be a referendum, before any of the campaigning/scaremongering started, I was on the leave camp. But as it went on, I was terrified by what each side was telling me. In the end, when I stepped in the polling booth yesterday, I still had no clue what to do. I stood there for ages pondering it. Which was really awkward because our polling booth is literally a tiny shed, and the two women watching me must have thought I was crazy. I spoiled my ballot in the end, feeling completely incapable for the first time in my life of making a decision based on facts and not fear. I didn't really agree with those saying it was best to remain if you were unsure, because there wouldn't be a referendum in the first place if there weren't issues with our EU membership which needed addressing.

This referendum was not facts-led or based on fact. It was based on fear. And I felt in no way able to make a judgement or decision based on that. I think, in many ways, that's why the result has shocked so many. Because the whole thing wasn't conducted like a 'normal' election.

If we're going to keep the Pop Idol comparison going, everyone doubted Will Young would have any sort of career after his win because 'nobody liked him and nobody voted for him'. The country was Team Gareth, nobody would support him. But, here we are 15 years later and everyone still knows his name and he still has a pretty successful career. He's even had some pretty big hits (I think 'Leave Right Now' is pretty appropriate right now!)

Not only that, but he won me round. Yep, my 10-year-old self would be appalled but I actually really like Will Young now.

Of course, this analogy can only spread so far. Will Young winning Pop Idol didn't seem the pound plummet and the threat of us entering back into a recession loom. Nor did it bring with it so much uncertainty for the future.

But he did surprise us. And maybe (hopefully) this result will do the same. If not, a victory for democracy may actually in fact turn out to be a defeat for life in the UK as we know it.

This is, of course, an attempt at me to make light of the situation we have woken up in this morning. Just FYI, before anyone starts hating on me.

You may also like (or not, now):The price of prosecco could soar if we leave the EU

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