EU referendum

Is it just me who is sick to the back teeth of the EU referendum? What a waste of time, money and breath. I really can’t be bothered making my mind up, and frankly the two campaigns aren’t really helping much.

On the one side is the ‘Better In’ campaign, who seem to be telling me that we’ve no idea what will happen if we leave, and it’ll destroy the economy. Lots of rich and famous people are agreeing with them. On the other side, is the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign, with Boris Johnson shouting a lot about ‘Knickers’ and ‘Bananas’ and Michael Gove seemingly making up new ways he’ll make me richer if we leave. Oh, and then there’s Nigel Farage who seems to want to run his own campaign on an elderly open-top bus, that no-one seems to be paying much attention to. I’ve disregarded him, because, well, to be fair I think he’s a bit of an idiot.

Both of the official campaigns seem to be concentrating on the economic benefits or disadvantages, but surely the EU is more than that? ‘Vote Leave’ keep telling me we’ll be swamped with migrants, which I don’t really believe. ‘Better In’ reliably inform me that it’s essential that we need to be in Europe to help reform it. I kind of see the logic in that, but how much the other EU countries will allow us to do so is doubtful.

I’ve not made up my mind. As a Lib-Dem, I’m inclined to vote ‘In’. However, last week I attended a debate in Ripon, arranged by the local Tory MP, which featured a reasonably civilised debate between two advocates for leave, two for stay. During this debate, a point was made which is definitely affecting my thinking. A chap from ‘Stay’ said that in his role attending the European parliament (sorry, can’t remember who he was) he could detect no appetite for closer political union amongst other MEP’s. Another chap from ‘Leave’ said that he believed this was clearly not the case; the EU has a single currency, parliament, and president; clearly a political union. There was also debate on whether the EU was considering tax-raising powers. He suggested that, other countries in the world have formed trading groups, and gave examples in India & South America (amongst others) that do perfectly well without the further need to press ahead with political union.

I think he is right, the EU is a political union. Therefore, the debate isn’t about money, or immigrants. It’s ultimately about one question, and that is whether you think that the UK is better off as an independent country, or as part of a political union. I really aren’t sure, and as yet no-one has persuaded me one way or the other. I suspect it’s unlikely that they will, whilst the two campaigns are treating the general public like chimps at a tea party. And, I’m not even sure the general public are really interested in voting on facts anyway. Whether such an important question should be put to a public who, on the whole, get their information from a press that seems to be unable to present facts without create hysteria, is a whole new debate.