Yesterday on twitter a brief conversation with an old friend and his family disclosed that based on our discussion, the public debate on the EU is full of opinion and bereft of accessible facts. This seems to bear out other anecdotal information being reported in the media. On Friday the Guardian carried a piece about the views of the members of the Federation of Small Business. Despite a number of high profile Brexit proponents, who have publicly and confidently stated that small businesses strongly favour their point of view, it appears that this is not the case. According to the article “Of the 4,000 members of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) who completed the survey, 42% said they were either undecided about how they will vote in the EU referendum or have decided but could still change their mind. More than half of those surveyed (52%) said they feel uninformed about the referendum and need more information, particularly about the economic impact Brexit would have on the UK (48%), the administrative burden of EU regulation (38%) and the cost of EU membership (33%). Mike Cherry, policy director of the FSB, said the polling reveals that there is an “information deficit” on the issue.”
It is clear that apart from the few Politicians who appear quite happy to use the EU and our referendum to settle some of their old scores, that a large number of us believe we need the space (away from such opinionated idiots) to consider the real facts. There may be some of us who need time to discuss this issue in safe places with other people who like us are wanting to explore the facts, clearly these groups will need access to the facts that do exist but they will need to have confidence in the sources of these. Other people might want some reliable information that they can read, listen to or understand in visible formats. How we achieve these outcomes without the dominant voices breaking through is far from clear. However we have nearly 4 months to try.