UNDAUNTED: How #Brexit became the ultimate reality TV vote

Columnist Steve Daunt believes spending our Saturday nights watching X-Factor has made us forget the importance of a vote.

UNDAUNTED:  How #Brexit became the ultimate reality TV vote

Louis Walsh and the rest of the 'X Factor' judges [PA Archive/PA Images]

Where did it start? Who is to blame? What the hell happened?

The whole population of Europe is probably waking up with that sinking feeling. The one you get when you wake up with the worst hangover in the world and remember you did something incredible embarrassing the night before. 

Well that’s Brexit.

The result wasn’t announced five minutes and I actually heard people who had voted to leave say "we thought it wouldn’t matter" and that other people’s 'Yes' votes would have cancelled out their 'No' vote.

Let’s put the mind bending big picture aside and just focus on the very odd mindset whereby someone thinks another person’s vote will cover for your own cock-up.

How can I break this to you? That is not how democracy actually works. Do I really have to go through the milestones which brought the vote to all members of society? There was a time when only rich white men with land could vote. It was only after the first World War that women were given the vote.

I remember the strange sense of ‘privilege’ I felt the first time I went to vote. As someone who comments on political events, I know that if I ever skip a vote, I would never have any right to pass remark on something that stemmed from my decision not to go to the polling station. That is the level of importance which should be afforded to every vote.

The sad thing is that other entities are looking for and redefining what a vote actually means. Step forward reality TV.

A vote is now something we do when Simon Cowell tells us to; it is an accessory to go with our Saturday night pizza. A Christmas number one or a wannabe celebrity is now seen to be as important as a life-changing political decision. Farage’s admission on Good Morning Britain that it was a "mistake" for the Leave campaign to claim that there would be an extra £350 million a week for the NHS was just like a visit to the diary room. Both are staged to tug on our heart strings and appeal to our base instincts.

Serious topics have been reduced to soundbites.

This is not to deny there were fears over how concepts like globalization cut through large swathes of northern England, and people wanted to blame someone. That much is true. Those fears, however, turned into cartoon cut outs as one dimensional as the latest over-35-year-old contender.

The vote. It seems so simple. It is, but you should never forget how precious it is. It is yours to use wisely.