IAN HART: Is 18 weeks of EU campaigning too much?

Ian Hart
Ian Hart

To be or not to be in Europe? That is the question, or at least will be on June 23, as the electorate will get the chance to decide our country’s membership of the European Union.

I realise it’s essential that as a nation we get this opportunity to decide this issue. I’m just not so sure about the length of the campaign.

We will have almost exactly 18 weeks of campaigning until the day of the vote. Given the extensive national media coverage we’ve already had, is there a danger we will all but burnt out by the time we have to attend the polling stations?

We have been here before. 41 years ago, on the back of two General Election victories, Harold Wilson’s Labour government gave the electorate the chance to leave after barely two years of full membership.

Back then the referendum was announced on April 9, after a vote in Westminster, with the actual poll taking place on June 5, 1975.

Eight weeks’ campaigning as opposed to what we have now appeared to give the electorate more than enough time to make their minds up, with almost 26 million voting.

Over 67 per cent of the voters opted to remain in – 17,378,581 votes, bear in mind that between them in last years election just under 21 million voted in total for both the main two parties. That indicates how important an issue it was back then.

And to reiterate, that is my primary concern. Will all the bickering and public spats between the ‘In’ faction and Brexit end up turning the electorate off?

At the moment I find myself very much in the undecided camp, like many others I will want to hear both sides of the debate before making my decision, however just how I will be feeling after 18 weeks of coverage remains to be seen.

Or, ever the cynic, is that exactly what they want, effectively boring us into submission? A dangerous game whichever way you look at it.


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