It is being hailed as the biggest decision of our lifetimes and one that is at the centre of much debate, political posturing, and, most notably, conflicting information and claims for both sides. It is, of course, the EU referendum – a vote to stay in or to leave. It sounds simple but navigating all of the political talk, claims and counter-claims from each side about the possible effects of the decision, it’s easy to get confused at the messages being given out and just what a vote to remain or to leave would mean for us.
A lot of this lies at the feet of the politicians who are vying for the increasing amount of air-time being given to the debate by the media. Read any newspaper article or watch a debate on TV and you will likely find the same arguments being acted out from both sides, with strikingly similar statements. Vote to leave, some politicians say, and the British economy will be free to prosper. Vote to stay in the EU, say others, and it will secure the stability of our economy. There are similar conflicts of information for a number of other issues – house prices, national security, border control – even the price of groceries and holidays. Each side is claiming that we will be better off if we vote with them. The problem is, they can’t both be right. So who do we listen to?
The truth is that no one really knows what will happen if we leave or stay in the EU. This has never happened before and we have never been in this exact political, economic or cultural climate before, here in the UK, in Europe or the rest of the world, so everything being offered as fact is actually speculation, from both sides. That leaves the question of how do we decide which way to vote? There is no correct answer but one thing we’re trying to keep in mind amongst all of this is that we are not voting for a specific politician or political party – a vote in is not for David Cameron, just as a vote out is not for Nigel Farage. It’s a vote for us, all of us, and our future, so we’re trying to ignore the personalities in the media and concentrate on making a personal decision based on what we believe is right for us.