The people have spoken! But, how did they speak? Jamaica’s proud of its democratic traditions; voting has been used as the only means to change national government. But, people don’t see voting as their only voice: fewer than 50 percent of the electorate decided to ‘speak’ at our 2016 elections. What does that really mean?
Britain showed yesterday its own respect for similar traditions, voting in a referendum to leave the EU by a national 52/48 percent majority.
But, large parts of the UK–Scotland, Northern Ireland and Greater London–voted clearly to remain. Will people in those areas want their different voices to be heard and acted upon?
The #Brexit vote holds other interesting pointers. Younger people (under 45) voted clearly to remain; those older voted clearly to leave–ironically, they are the generation who voted the UK in. So, UK political division is generational.
For Jamaica, age data from our election are not yet available.
PM Cameron wasted no time in announcing that he would step down and open the way (by October) for a new leader of his party. His voice was clear. Do Jamaican leaders (not just the PM) feel similar urges to step down when people vote against their ideas? Do they hear voices in their heads, the way other nations’ politicians do?
When people ‘speak’, many listen: ask financial traders watching Sterling and stocks plummet. Actions speak louder than words.