FinancialGuy Writes!

For some time I have been convinced that the Brexit vote will easily be won by the “remain” camp. After a recent trip to the UK I am feeling much less bullish…

There were some good reasons for my confidence:

– the economic case for the UK to stay in the EU seems to be clear, exit will lead to a shock of unknown size and probably a recession
– “The City” wants to stay in and generally in the UK, whatever the big banks want, they get
– almost all of the well known political class, plus the party grandees, want to remain in the UK and they will have high profile media time as the vote approaches
– the sovereignty case seems to be clear, the UK will not be able to overhaul national legislation if we exit, so staying in seems to be preferable
– I want the UK to remain in the UK and cognitive dissonance makes anything else hard to consider!

However, I’m changing my tune. I recently attended a family event in the UK and had the chance to chat with a number of friends and family. My Brussels experience meant that the topic of Brexit kept coming up.

It would seem to me that the debates are much too complex for the average voter. It all seems clear to me, but it is anything but clear to the people I spoke to. They are family and friends so I did not get into any arguments – ok, just the one… – but their decisions seem to be mostly made and I’m still unsure that I know what they are based on. In other words, they seem to be confident in their judgement, but seem to have no facts to back that judgement up with.

Why am I less confident? Simply because my guess is that there are another 3 or 5 million UK voters with a similarly poorly informed understanding of the issues and they will vote how they vote. Sadly, how they vote is very likely to be influenced by the mainstream print media and their very heavy biases.

I am becoming less confident by the day.

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Comments

  1. Hi

    as a continental living and working in Ireland, talking to fellow british expats and following the referendum “spats” in the UK press/media, I similarly share your pessimism

    ultimately, the decision is up to the voters (though not all of them will be british, nor all british voters will be allowed to vote), but from what I can see, the level of sheer ignorance about the issue (by voters, politicians and “journalists” alike) and the generalised misinformation spread out (often done willfully, pretty much never challenged immediately), all make for a poor showing of what democracy is supposed to be

    personally, I’m rather ambivalent about the vote :

    1) in a perfect world, I’d very much have the UK become a fully committed member of the European Union, rather than using Europe (and the EU) as an extension of domestic political fight
    2) no matter how much was symbolic, I’m very much against the concessions given by other EU leaders to Cameron considering how hostile and self-absorbed the Tory contribution to the EU has been over the past 6 years
    3) Brexit will hurt Europe (and the UK) needlessly without solving much (if anything)

    …. and yet 4) I wouldn’t mind see England have a taste of their own spite and take responsibility for their vote in case of a brexit

    both union will keep muddling through, most likely for a decade (if not two), no matter how much wounded.
    but today’s young brits will be the one who will have to take on the burden of repairing that relationship

    maybe that will incite them to be more politically involved and clean up much of the Westminster Ancien Regime and their press baron friends

    Best regards,

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