It started as a Conservative party election promise – if we voted them in, we could have our say on EU membership. Well, we did vote them in and now it’s finally going to happen. On Thursday 23rd May the UK will go to the polls for a monumental referendum on whether or not we should continue our membership of the EU. What the outcome of that vote will be is all but impossible to predict and punters are already placing their bets. However, one thing can be said for certain – in the run up to the referendum the shock tactics and a liberal idea of what constitutes the ‘truth’ have been rife on both sides. Let’s take a look at some of the words and actions both the leave and the remain camp have shocked us with over the course of their campaigning.
Tangled in red tape
The Brexiters have made much of the idea that “red tape” churned out by the European Union costs UK businesses £600 million a year. This sounds like an extraordinarily high number and the stay camp has been fast to refute it. They say that in fact, the public sector picks up a large portion of this particular bill because the regulations the cash pays for apply in both sectors. The stay campaigners also say that although Brexiters make much of the £600 million figure, they neglect to mention that by paying, the UK is able to trade freely in the European market.
How much power does our prime minster have?
One of David Cameron’s key tactics during the referendum campaign has been to up-play the sway he (and therefore we) could enjoy over future EU policies and changing existing ones to our advantage. However, some have said his claims of power and influence are laughable.
A £55 million per day price tag?
Brexiters like Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and co have latched on hard to the notion of the EU costing us £55 million a day. However, journalists and those in the remain camp have called this figure into question time and time again. It seems that the actual net cost to the UK for EU membership is more like £17 million a day.
Do you want a DIY Recession?
The chancellor George Osborne, a man with his feet firmly in the remain camp, has warned that leaving the EU would spark the start of a DIY recession. Building on the nation’s very real fears of job losses and business failures the likes of which we endured during the 2008 recession, Osborne said: “The British people must ask themselves this question: can we knowingly vote for a recession? Does Britain really want this DIY recession? Because that’s what the evidence shows we’ll get if we vote to leave the EU.”
The Brexit bus
Nigel Farage standing in front of a bus emblazoned with the image of destitute Syrian refugees, carrying the slogan ‘Breaking point’ has caused an outcry. Many have called the Leave bus ‘racist’, pointing out that the design bears a striking similarity to Nazi propaganda. Even fellow Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson has been quick to distance himself from this particular messaging, saying it was “not our campaign” and “not my politics.”
All in all, its been a bloody and sometimes deceitful campaign on both sides, with lies and shock tactics defining the general approach. However, every voter must make their own decision on what they feel is best for them and their community – should we stay or should we go?