It has been a busy week, what with one thing and another, and I can’t believe that I have written virtually nothing about the great Brexit referendum, or Doomsday or Independence Day depending on whose soundbites you’re listening to.
The problem is that, like most people, I haven’t a clue what the future might hold should we stay in the EU or go our own way.
All sorts of experts have been wheeled on by both sides – economists, scientists, industrialists, army generals, archbishops, celebrities, social policy wonks and bankers, as well politicians past and present – and the only things they can agree on is their inability to agree on anything. And no matter how eminent the person, if they advocate remain, they’re labelled as being in the pay of the Eurocrats and if they support the leave campaign, then they’re dismissed as fantasists.
With less than a week to go, and an exit vote looking more and more likely, it feels as if the whole debate has coalesced around a single issue – immigration. And you can understand that because it is self-evident if more people are coming into the country than are leaving it then that will inevitably put pressure on our infrastructure, such as housing, healthcare and education.
But the irony is that immigration and border controls are unlikely to change not one jot whether we stay in Europe or retreat into isolation. In fact, it might make matters much worse. Migrants come in different forms:
- European nationals who come here under the free movement for workers which is a fundamental principle of the EU. It’s unlikely that we would want to put a stop to this as most bring much needed skills with them.
- Economic migrants from outside the EU who usually arrive via other EU countries which are quite likely to chivvy them right across the Channel if we are no longer members of their club.
- Political refugees. Are we really going to turn our backs on people who have given up everything in their own countries because they fear for their safety?
I don’t particularly like the phrase dog-whistle politics, but it seems that what we’re stuck with from Nigel Farage & Co. For sure, there will be some unsavoury individuals among the genuine migrants, but that is just as likely to happen if we vote to leave.
I’m not one to sermonise (well not too much) but I’m not going to be browbeaten by the likes of Farage and Johnson and for that reason, and many others, I’ll be voting to stay on Thursday.