Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Staggering Up To The Finishing LIne

A referendum is not the same as a general election. With an election we know that in five years we have another chance to express our views; in the meantime the MPs themselves reflect and express the views of their constituents. With a referendum we are bound to a single decision and may never, or at least, not in our lifetimes, have the chance to change it. If the result of an election returns a government whose policies fill one with dread, there is always hope to reverse them. There is little hope of that with the EU referendum, especially if the result is to leave. For a reversal would require the EU to let us back in as well as a change of heart at home. On the other hand, if the vote is to remain there is nothing to stop the leave campaign from firing up again in a few years. This one-sidedness about the vote is a very good reason to ditch such exercises altogether, except where they are genuinely reversible for both sides.

The arguments are going on right up to the wire but I made up my mind a long time ago and have heard nothing to change it since; indeed, the vicious anti-immigration line taken by the leavers  (subtext: anti Black, anti Brown, anti Irish, anti Jewish/Muslim/Hindu/Sikh, any recognisable minority really) has only confirmed my views and even persuaded some on the leave side to switch. Listening and watching the news is now a form of agony; one is waiting for it all to be over and to know where we are. The don't-knows are so numerous that no opinion poll has any value. What sort of world will we wake up to on Friday?

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