In, Out, or shake it all about by Quentin Bates

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In a few weeks we Brits will get a result, one way or the other. Britain goes to the polls in a few weeks for its referendum on EU membership, In or Out.

Some of us are starting to long for the whole wretched mess to be over. It hasn’t been a happy few months as the EU issue has been fought over from dawn to dusk and beyond. The uncomfortable part of it all is just how ill-served the British voting public has been throughout the whole shebang so far. The sheer weight of lies, bullshit and scaremongering from both camps has been astonishing, and the political shysters, freeloaders and semi-fossilised grandees who have popped up with opinions has been enough to make some of us want to cover our ears and hide in a corner.

The exit faction paints a picture of a dazzling future for Britain free from the jackboot heel of Brussels.

The remain camp paints a picture of a golden future as Britain remains part of a European utopia.

According to the leave campaign, remaining part of the EU will inevitably result in lower earnings, higher household bills, crippled industry, ingrowing toenails, civil unrest, strife, power cuts and erectile disfunction on a national scale.

According to the other side of the argument, leaving the EU will lead straight to crippled industry, higher household bills, lower earnings, pestilence, strife, boils, plagues of genital warts and premature hair loss.

You get the picture?

That’s right. The very clear impression is that both sides are talking out of their substantial fundaments. Any semblance of logic or reasoned argument has long vanished and it’s all about emotion and gut feeling.

We can have a fairly clear idea of what will happen if we remain in Europe, because we’re already part of it. But predicting what will happen if we come out provides about as accurate a picture as you’d get by staring at the tea leaves. There are too many variables to be able to predict anything with any kind of certainty.

Supposing Britain leaves and a subsequent Scottish referendum (which would probably have a very different outcome to the last one) results in an independent Scotland applying to join the EU. That’ll be interesting.

What happens to the couple of million Brits who live in Europe? Do they lose their right to live, work or be retired in the sunnier parts of the continent? Are we about to exchange all the Polish plumbers, Bulgarian fruit pickers and Portuguese nurses for hordes of retired Brits plucked from golf courses and shipped back to Blighty? Are there enough golf courses in the Home Counties to keep them happy, and who’s going to fix the plumbing?

The rhetoric bandied about in the media has been astonishing. Comparing the European Union to the Third Reich is just plain nuts, but that’s what we’re getting. Where does it go from here? Threats of plagues of locusts and blood raining from the skies? As the referendum date approaches, the bullshit factor is being ramped up and the whole debacle is likely to hinge uncomfortably on immigration and those pesky Johnny Foreigners desperate to sponge off the British taxpayer – or keep the economy running by doing all the lousy jobs – depending on your point of view.

Or is it all just a smokescreen to sneak in TTIP under the radar while our attention is occupied with the smoke and fireworks of the referendum?

What about the rest of Europe? Would everyone else be better off without Britain and are they regretting letting us, our dreadful sausages and warm beer join in the first place? Will the whole bureaucratic edifice come tumbling down, or will the rest of Europe even notice that there are no Brits around the table any more?

At its heart, is this genuinely an argument about EU membership, or is it a squabble between the right wing of the Tory party (who want to stay in) under prime minister David Cameron, and Boris Johnson and its extreme right wing (who want out), with both sides prepared to trample in hobnailed boots over anyone and anything to hold on to power for themselves? The cynic would think so and it’s difficult to think of all this as anything but a go-for-broke effort by Boris and his grotesque henchmen to snatch power from Dave and his equally grotesque bunch of old Etonian thugs.

I haven’t a clue, and the more I listen to the increasingly manic ranting of Boris Johnson (like an intelligent, even more unscrupulous Trump), David Cameron (think improbably smooth second-hand car salesman) and the rest of them, the more I get the feeling we’re being told anything but the truth as these ruthless men pursue their own ends.

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