The Brexit Debate: a view for the undecided

Guest piece by Modwenna Rees-Mogg, founder & CEO of AngelNews and Pitching for Management.

Time is marching on. The vote is 20 days away. If you have one duty it is this. You must turn out to vote, even if you just spoil your ballot. You also have a duty to make sure all those around you vote too. The only truly disastrous result of the Referendum will be if it is decided on anything less than a very comfortable majority of UK citizens having voted.

Finding the arguments to enable you to vote positively either for Remain or Leave will be down to personal choice. For every economic or political argument in support of one, there is a counter argument for the opposite. There are people one admires, and those one finds reprehensible, in both camps. Sovereignty is a vital principle, but no-one is truly sovereign in a global world. Democracy can be pushed out of shape anywhere. Rarely does the force of good not push it back eventually.

Unfettered migration maybe bad, but the right to move freely is something we all want to enjoy, especially if we want to seek better opportunities for ourselves and our families or even simply to see new worlds or escape misery. Trade shifts with the winds. At the end of the day we have to balance our own interests with those of others. The rule of law and the right to vote over what happens to our lives are paramount as they underpin our ability to do everything else.

Who has told the fewest number of lies in the great Brexit debate? Does anyone have the moral majority in the truths?

Will sentiment and selfish interests play a bigger role than we might imagine when we tick the box? Probably.

If you are undecided on the facts, it is perfectly within your democratic right to vote on sentiment and selfish interest if you so choose. And to be fair neither Leave nor Remain have covered themselves in glory when it comes to the facts or making the case for the greater good, so you may have no other choice.

It is a great shame that neither side has taken the argument down to the level of the household, small business or local community. It remains a worry that the politicians and their supporters leading the arguments have their own selfish interests at stake, not least those on either side in the government when the premiership of the worlds 5th largest economy is in play.

Whatever the outcome of the vote, there are certain likely scenarios.

  1. There will be more and not less renegotiation between the UK and the European Union.
  2. Trade will improve globally, not so much due to politics but to technology.
  3. There are looming geopolitical threats which are way beyond “Europe” due to many factors beyond anyone’s control.
  4. The sense of the individual will continue to grow in parallel with the power of the supra over the individual.

Whether we leave or stay in the European Union for any one person, on any one day of the week, the impact will probably be miniscule. Only when our descendants look back in 50 or 100 years’ time, will we be able to judge who or what was right or wrong. And even then there will be differing views.

There are some overarching things to consider. Social justice is very important to the continuance of humanity as a whole. Openness tends to be to the advantage of all in preference to a shuttered existence. Partisan behaviour hurts. People do kill each other – through words, sticks and stones. We all need to prevent the rise of tyrants.

“Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its highest. Live in fragments no longer.”

So said E M Forster’s in Howard’s End, his seminal novel about the nature and impact of human behaviour.

We have seen a lot of prose and even more passion in the Referendum debate. Connecting the arguments into the logic that will help you make a decision on 23rd of June was never going to be easy, but it is important do the very best you can for the sake of you, your family, your neighbours and even your enemies. Try to join up the fragments if you can so that, at least, on balance you do not regret your decision. There is no shame in then overlaying your decision with emotion. And whatever the outcome, keep contributing to the future. Every one of us is needed to make it better than the past.

Finally if there is one argument that I think should sway you. If you believe that the European Union ultimately is a tyrant or even a tyrant in the making, you should vote to leave and we must all take our chances. If you believe that the European Union ultimately holds off tyranny you should vote to stay and we will have to take our chances with that too.