Very few voters cast their votes in accordance with deeply held political beliefs. They are generally content to let politicians argue about the big issues. Instead, what determines their vote on election day is a judgement of what choice is most likely to improve their personal circumstances.
So it will be in the forthcoming referendum. Already, it is apparent that there is neither economic nor political consensus. So, as a typical self-interested voter, my vote will depend on my personal assessment of what will be the best outcome for me. Like, I suspect, the majority of voters, my view of Europe is essentially selfish, so I need answers to at least the following questions.
I love being able just to get on Eurostar in London and get off in Paris (or even better in Avignon). Will that be just as easy, or will there be tiresome difficulties such as Passport hold-ups?
The Euro has fallen: rather conveniently for lovers of French wine and food. Would a Brexit result in a calamitous fall in the value of Sterling against the Euro?
I love meeting, and socializing with the French. Might Brexit create resentment towards us British. Would we become again ‘La perfide Albion’?
As a businessman, I am inclined to use Groucho Marx’s message:
"PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON'T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER" - though I would amend the reason to “ANY CLUB THAT HAS ACCEPTED SO MANY MEMBERS WITHOUT VETTING THEIR SUITABILITY.”
Still wearing my businessman’s hat I am, in fact, surprised that big, international business is not frightened by the possibility of either long-term collapse or at best stagnation in Europe.
What is the probability that a single currency and a political union based on a ragbag of utterly different (and determinedly different) nations can succeed?
Despite this rationalization, and ignoring the possibility that Britain may suffer some economic or political inconvenience by Brexit - which, I am sure will be of little consequence to me – I shall vote on my judgement on these three questions.
Bill Halson first campaigned for the Conservative Party in the 1955 General Election, in which Winston Churchill was unceremoniously dumped. He helped his wife run a successful Marriage Bureau, and currently runs an Old-time Music Hall company.