The most heard comment from members of the public about the EU referendum debate is ‘We do not have any hard facts’ and all we seem to get from the protagonists is speculation which gets more and more alarmist and apocalyptic as we approach the referendum day.
The truth is that no-one really knows and no-one can really predict the implications and outcomes of staying in or leaving because so much will depend on the will and the negotiating powers of our leaders, the unknown attitudes of our EU and future trading partners and the vagaries of the economic climate. ‘There are unknowns that we know about apart from the unknowns we do not know about’ – to quote the famous comment by Donald Rumsfeld.
However, I am beginning to suspect that in reality, whatever way the vote goes may produce little real change. The EU has shown the ability to ignore or change the will of people who have rejected the EU in the past.
The real figures of power, seemingly backed by many leaders in the financial and commercial world feel that it is in our interests (or their interests – I am not sure which) to stay in the EU.
Even if the vote should decide for Brexit, we are told there will be a minimum of two years of negotiations to bring this about, and it will be those who favour staying in who will be in charge of those negotiations – unless the Prime Minister and all the advocates of staying in resign en masse – which it very doubtful.
So in the process of a drawn out Brexit negotiation we will be told that if we wish to continue to trade with the EU we will have to accept this condition and that condition, and that it is in our interests to participate in the various EU conventions to the extent that, by a swirl of smoke and mirrors we find ultimately that we are still in effect members of the EU with very little difference to where we are now.
There is also some doubt as to whether leaving the EU will make much difference to immigration into the UK. There is an unprecedented migratory phenomenon affecting the world from which we in the UK cannot insulate ourselves.
In spite of the Channel, our borders seem to be a porous as a sponge. So many who are here already have the right to have relatives join them and we are still obliged to consider all requests for asylum. In addition it appears that many are already using the quiet beaches and inlets of the coast to sneak in and there is little will to raise the resources to adequately police our shores. We will still need to invite and welcome an army of migrants if our public services and some of our industries are to continue to function.
I may be dismissed as a sad old cynic, but to paraphrase the Bard, I see the debate as ‘full of sound and fury, told by idiots, and ultimately signifying nothing’.
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