The impending vote (accepting that many have already voted) tomorrow means that by Friday we will know the outcome. We will either be out for good or remaining at least for a generation. Prior to the vote, promises and inferences have been made on both sides. On one level both sides have done so with the certainty that they are not making these promises or setting out aspirations as a Government or even a party in waiting, but as individuals on very exclusive platforms, paid for indirectly by tax payers. The fact is that some of the promises are not capable of being kept. I did some crude maths totting up the financial promises that were made by Vote Leave at one point in the Campaign. Things like spending all £350M a week on the health Service (in addition to currrent spending), then the promise to ensure that all of the current spending from the EU itself would be maintained and then calculated the cost to the UK of joining EFTA and when I had finished my sums, I estimate that the additional costs to be found if we leave was £15Bn a year in addition to what we spend at the moment to be members. That is clearly not going to happen, yet all of those sums are based on promises made. On the other side of the debate whilst much more muted, the strong indications from many who spoke was that we would remain in a reformed EU, not based on the minor items achieved by David Cameron, but by a renewed and re-energised approach to the EU.
Whichever way the vote goes, the need to take the electorate at is word and more importantly the need for politicians to maintain their words and implement the changes they have promised is vital if we are to avoid further disillusionment amongst those who vote tomorrow (and those who don’t). On Newsnight last night there was a strong suggestion that the Tories on the Leave side, want to delay any transition, possibly for 3-4 years. That in my opinion would be a betrayal of all that has said. Most recently (I did not watch the debate) by Michael Gove on Radio 4 yesterday when he said that by Friday the people will be in charge of the UK. In fact the only way that this could be kept is if a General Election was called, but if on Friday the Tories force Cameron to stay at his desk while they plan and plot for their next term in Office, giving Johnson or Gove time to plan for a strong strategy for Leading the Leave process, I believe many will be disillusioned and rightly so. Equally if we vote to Remain, we need to see a meaningful focus on a new way of engaging with Europe. I am represented by 10 MEPs in the European Parliament, three of them support the idea of being in the EU and 6 are strongly for Leave. One has not to my knowledge made up his mind. If we are to Leave, then I would expect David Cameron to ask his 2 or 3 Leave supporters to step down in favour of new Conservative MEPs who believe in the Parliament to which they will the belong. Inevitably we cannot expect the same of UKIP, but any improvement over the current arrangements is to be welcomed.