SO.. you’ve decided to vote Remain… or indeed Leave… or perhaps you have still to make up your mind about the European Union. (If you’ve yet to discover there is a referendum on the 23rd then I congratulate you on your hermit lifestyle!).
If there’s one thing many of us would agree on, whichever way we are voting, much of the debate so far has been pretty poor, and at some points downright objectionable. And we may find ourselves asking, as the Corrs very nearly sang, but didn’t quite: “What can I do to make it better?”
(1) Let’s discuss issues – not diss individuals.
Yesterday I read in one blog post a statement about “unholy, sickening trio of Farage, Johnson and Gove, surely three of the most cynical, adulterous, lying, self-seeking politicians that have ever walked the face of this nation…”
At the same time we have people attacking David Cameron’s competence and Jeremy Corbyn’s perceived half-heartedness or Frank Field’s alleged right-wing tendencies.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I have never met any of these individuals. I can’t judge their hearts and their motives. Which of us hasn’t changed our minds about something, or got something wrong, or had mixed motives in what we have been doing?
Let’s stick to the issues instead. So what IS the main issue for you? Democracy? Human rights? Co-operation? The economy? Refugees? Sovereignty? Immigration? Nationalism? And WHY is it important for you?
For me, democracy is the key thing – for without the ability to properly hold to account those who make our laws, all is lost. I have written about what I perceive to be the serious shortfall in EU democracy and it’s less than impressive history in this regard here and someone else has written about it more eloquently and at greater length here.
But what is it for you? And why? Let’s talk about facts – but leave the bashing of individuals to one side. As the Corrs so rightly sang: “There’s only so much I can take, And I just got to let it go, And who knows I might feel better.” Yes, this is the only blog where you will find gratuitous and entirely out-of-context lyrics from the Corrs informing the EU debate. Just one of this website’s many unique strengths.
(2) Let’s discuss facts – not fantasy forecasts.
Just remind me which futurologists forecast the First World War, or World War Two, or the attack on the Twin Towers, or the collapse of the Berlin Wall, or the rise of Islamic State?
And which economists predicted the Credit Crunch? Or that oil prices would collapse? Or that not being in the Euro, and leaving the Exchange Rate Mechanism, would actually turn out to be a triumph?
Exactly. Thought as much. Which is why I think it is hard to give too much credit to the apocalyptic forecasts or utopian predictions that emanate from either side, be they from “experts” or not.
Because frankly none of us know what is going to happen. We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, for goodness’ sake. The treasury’s forecasts from six months ago have been revised substantially, so how anyone from any side can confidently predict what will happen in ten years’ time seems implausible, to put it mildly.
What will happen? The unexpected – or, as Harold Macmillan, put it “events, dear boy, events.” Stuff will happen, most of it unforeseen, and events will pan out in the light of that. For better or for worse. None of us knows.
So let’s talk about current facts, and past facts – and here is one website which, so far as I can see, endeavours to do this independently though it says less about democracy than I would like.
And there is not long to go until we vote either! To conclude with another entirely irrelevant quote from the Corrs: “No more waiting, no more aching… No more fighting, no more.” Or at least we can live in hope…