At this point, I think it is a certainty that the UK will vote to leave the EU. The people who are anti-EU are passionate about their cause - every single one of them will be out to vote. For the rest of us, the EU doesn't occupy our every waking thought, we're happy to benefit from it but if the weather is rainy, we might not vote.
With all that said, I'd like to take a moment to point out some of the blatant lies being told by the Leave campaign. I think it is important to show people exactly how they are being mislead.
This is part of a leaflet which was shoved through my door last night.
Let's take the points one by one.
- There is a £14 billion trade deal with China.
- There is also a massive trade deal with India.
- We do not have a separate trade deal with Australia. Although one is being negotiated with the EU. If we leave, those negotiations will have to start again - assuming Australia is interested.
- The UK has not bailed out the Euro. We have a veto against doing so and refused to contribute to the IMF's bail out. Our latest negotiations mean we don't need have any "rows" about bailing out the Euro (€).
- We already are a member of the WTO!
- ...and, as part of the WTO, the UK is part of a trade agreement with Australia!
Now, at this point I'd expect Vote Leave to point out that the trade deals with China and India aren't free trade deals - that is where both countries lower barriers to each other's goods & services.
But these concessions are not always symmetric. For example, the Switzerland-China trade deal gives China immediate access to Swiss markets but Switzerland has to wait 15 years for access to Chinese markets.
Similarly, the Chinese-Australian trade deal allows companies to bring in Chinese economic migrants, even when there is no labour shortage in Australia! That "deal" took 10 years to negotiate.
So, OK, we leave the EU and abandon all the trade deals signed with them. Then we spend years negotiating from a weakened position. Then, somehow, we end up with preferential trade deals.
We're the fifth largest economy in the world. But the EU is six times larger! If you're China, India, Australia - who do you prioritise in your trade negotiations? If you're in the EU, what concessions do you give the UK knowing that doing so could hasten the break-up of the Eurozone?
There may very well be valid arguments for leaving the EU - but the Leave Campaign seems content just to mislead voters.
If you want some impartial facts on the EU referendum, please visit Full Fact.