NOW this probably won’t help, but never mind. Do you think we should have a referendum on whether we should stop going on about Europe all the time?
The news is stuck in an obsessive groove. This is understandable on the grounds that staying in Europe or leaving is a decision of great importance. But, dear me, hearing the two teams shout at each other is very wearying.
Each side is so sure they are right – each is possessed of utter certainty in an uncertain world.
The quitters have more fun with their arguments, partly because they drag out king-size fibs such as Britain sending £350 million a week to Brussels. Then then tell us that just about any problem we might have could be cured by leaving Europe, and no doubt skipping off down a rainbow-arched lane to a land of milk, honey and good strong tea. They conjure images of a Britain still great – a Britain still with its brogue-clad feet resting on the footstool of Empire.
The Stronger in Europe contingent, meanwhile, are fighting a fairly dreary campaign with fear at its bossy heart. Fair enough in a way – as the uncertainty of what would happen if we quit Europe is a big black hole the quitters traipse round every day, pretending it isn’t there.
George Osborne tells us that Brexit would lead to higher taxes, more expensive mortgages, the sun dropping out of the sky and plagues of frogs falling like rain upon our foolish heads (some of these may not be true).
Then there is David Cameron. Casting him the figurehead for the remain camp was never a good idea, and looks even less wise now after his reputation was tarnished by the Panama Papers revelations.
Hearing David Cameron say you have to do something is likely to make plenty of people feel they should do the exact opposite.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has now put his back into the efforts of the remain camp. Only it’s not so much his back as a big ‘on go on then’ shrug from a man who doesn’t seem all that keen on Europe. There is a theory that Labour votes are crucial to the remain campaign, so perhaps the Corbyn shrug will be enough to turn the issue round.
For what it’s worth I still think we should stay in Europe, and will probably vote that way. But trying to make up your mind isn’t easy. I still find myself bouncing off the opinions of those I’d rather not stand next to for too long.
Cameron and Osborne want us to stay, so shouldn’t I want to leave? But Boris Johnson with all his confected bumbling wants us to quit, so shouldn’t I want to stay just to spite that dreadful man?
Corbyn wants us to stay, so perhaps I’ll lend my shrug to his, and if enough remain shrugs gather together it might count for something.
Incidentally, I just saw a most frightening headline: “Chris Grayling shares platform with Nigel Farage to denounce EU.”
What an utter delight, a horrible Tory with an equally horrible Ukip man. Some meetings really are enough to bring on a bad case of the shudders.