Some say, it’s a bad idea to trust the great British public to make any important decision. Just remember the infamous online poll which decided to name a new polar research vessel “Boaty McBoatface”. But now the British public are to be asked whether Britain should stay in the EU – despite the fact that the population is overwhelmingly ignorant about the issues surrounding this referendum. Indeed, a survey by Ipsos MORI showed that the public are “wrong about nearly everything”.
“It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about”
So spoke Barack Obama in a recent speech to Rutgers University graduates, lamenting a growing anti-intellectualism and rejection of facts and reason in politics. How does this relate to the EU referendum? Well, one of foremost proponents of “Brexit” is one Michael Gove, former education secretary. Challenged to name any economists who favoured Britain leaving the EU, Gove said “people in this country have had enough of experts”.
Have we had enough of listening to experts? Should we follow the advice of a former education secretary, of all people, who recommends that we ignore the opinions of people who do actually know what they are talking about?
I’m the first to admit, I’m not an expert on the EU. That’s why I’m happy to take the advice of people who are. People who have probably done some actual research on the issue, like, say the Bank of England. Or 300 prominent historians. Or the majority of world leaders. In fact, this about sums it up:
So who is in favour of Brexit?
What experts do we have on the Leave side? Well we have Boris Johnson, former mayor of one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, who announced his baffling support for cutting Britain off from the rest of Europe. Baffling that is, until you consider that in the event of Brexit actually happening, David Cameron’s position will become untenable. And who is the favourite to replace him as prime minister? Oh, that would be none other than Boris Johnson.
Who else does that leave? Well of course there is always omnipresent Nigel Farage, a man who wants to take Britain back to a golden age. A golden age when spaghetti was an exotic food and smoking was allowed in pubs.
Let’s not forget, the only reason this referendum is happening as that a sizable chunk of the Conservative Party demanded it. So David Cameron had to promise it, to stop them defecting to UKIP.
I know who’s side I’m on. I’m with the experts. That’s why I’m voting to Remain on June 23rd.