Today, on 6 November, 2018, on the day of the US midterms, Postcards from the 48% leaves great resonance. Director David Wilkinson‘s documentary about the United Kingdom’s handling of the Brexit referendum is a cautionary tale against a misinformed public, a less-than honest government, and the power of the vote when it is not exercised.
On 23 June, 2016, the UK voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. The results of the vote were shocking to those around the world, and to many within the UK. Passing on the thinnest of majorities, 51.89% to leave and 48.11% to remain, only a fraction of the UK population voted at all. Also, those under 18 were left out of the process because it was a referendum rather than a general election (where the voting age would be 16). Since the vote, the result has been hailed as a crushing landslide (sound familiar America?).
Wilkinson spends much of his documentary tracing across the UK, from Scotland, to Northern Ireland, to Wales, and England to speak with remain voters about the consequences of leaving the EU and the misconceptions surrounding the UK’s membership within the organization, such as immigration, exporting and importing, and fees.
Speaking with an impressive array of talking heads, such as Nick Clegg (former Deputy Prime Minister), Rachel Johnson (Journalist), Matt Kelly (Editor of The New European), Baroness Wheatcroft. Lesley Riddoch (Editor of the Scotmans), Bob Geldof, Mark Durkan (former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland), Mark Constantine (Lush Founder), etc., Wilkinson finds that the referendum will be detrimental to businesses and future generations, and that the government did not plan for what a post-Brexit United Kingdom would look like.
Wilkinson’s most poignant moments come when he’s speaking with young activists. And while the documentary is missing interviews with those who wished to leave, thereby negating the voice of those people which probably partly led to Brexit in the first place, Postcards from the 48% reminds one of their global connectivity and the power of their vote.
An official selection of the Denver Film Festival (DFF): 2018.