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The EU referendum is looming. This Thursday Britain will vote and the reverberations of the result will be global, whatever the outcome. Perhaps it won’t be too different if we narrowly vote to remain in but with almost half of the voters wanting to be out, in which case we will continue to play the part of the grudging curmudgeon who comes to the party but acts as if he doesn’t want to be there, but either renewed commitment or an exit, by even the slimmest of margins, will have far-reaching effect.

However, for all the gravity of the choice we only have two options before us: remain in the EU or leave the EU. It is far too late to change anything now but a couple more choices would have made the measurement much more precise on the democratic will of the British people. What about:

  1. Remain in the EU
  2. Leave the EU
  3. Remain in the EU and commit ourselves to a positive leadership role
  4. I really don’t know – let the experts decide
  5. I really don’t know – give us a few more years

I could go on, although that is probably enough to see why I didn’t get the job of writing the voting cards! It is a big question though and boiling it down to a simple binary choice (ternary if you count not voting at all) seems too imprecise.

In case you hadn’t picked it up, I am very much in favour of remaining. I would pick the third choice, recognising our largely European heritage and the wisdom of contributing to shared social stability with our nearest geographical neighbours (as well as being deeply distrustful of those leading the exiteers). Two of most compelling cases to remain that I’ve read in recent days have been from Naturetale and from Richard Dawkins (the latter leaning more towards option 4).

  • h.

    Interestingly, there was a campaign in 1975 to have a additional option along the lines of “don’t know” or “leave it to Parliament”. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36418605

    • basswulf

      I didn’t know that. As a general principle, I think all elections should have a ‘none of the above’ option so you can contribute to the democratic process even when you aren’t sure.