GUEST COLUMN: The EU vote - how will we decide? by Roy Bainton
When you've spent 50 years campaigning for what you believe in, only to see everything dismantled by those with a different agenda, you tend to give up and opt for a little peace in what's left of your seemingly wasted life.
And then along comes the perfect political storm. Try as you may, you can’t avoid being tossed on the waves.
First, the EU ‘in or out’ referendum on June 23.
Then Iain Duncan Smith, in my view the scourge of the poor and the disabled, seems to have found something at the back of his desk drawer — a conscience. After presiding, in my view, over some of the most Draconian anti-social legislation, after agreeing to further punishment of the disabled in the Budget, suddenly Smith is saying austerity must be halted, because it’s ‘unfair’.
If someone told me they’d seen a cow climb up a tree, I wouldn’t believe that, either. This is a game all politicians enjoy; Russian roulette.
What triggered this is something we, the hapless, benefits-scrounging hoi polloi, have no chance of making a sound decision on: whether or not to leave the EU.
Smith sees Boris Johnson as potentially the next Conservative leader, and Boris has opted for the ‘Out’ campaign.
If Johnson, Nigel Farage, Michael Gove and others win, and Britain leaves, the resulting political turmoil will put Boris in the driving seat and Smith is rewarded.
And what are we, the ordinary voters, to make of it all when the big day arrives?
I can’t make my mind up as to which side to support, because the issues are hidden in a fog of rhetoric.
I voted against joining in 1973. Like most of the population, this week I got a letter from an organisation called Leave.EU. As well as UKIP, there’s even another organisation called Vote Leave. If you’ve seen Monty Python’s Life of Brian, you’ll soon start thinking of these as the “Judean People’s Front” and the “People’s Front of Judea”.
There are 28 countries now in the EU, with Turkey on the waiting list. A survey indicated the country which most wants Britain to stay in is Lithuania. The country which most wants us to leave is (no surprise) France.
Polls show the British public are fairly evenly split. UKIP wants us out. About half of Conservative MPs, including five cabinet ministers, several Labour MPs and the DUP are also in favour of leaving. We’ve all got less than three months to figure it out. I can’t stand any of the campaigners on either side.
Sadly, this time the old adage rings true; no matter who you vote for, the government always gets in.