Opinion: No closer to a decision

Still weighing up the pros and cons of EU membership before the visit to the ballot box.
Still weighing up the pros and cons of EU membership before the visit to the ballot box.

I’m following the claim and counter-claim in the EU debate ... we’re taking a momentous decision – I’m conscious that I’m deciding not just for me, but for the future of my children and (with a wedding looming) my potential grandchildren as well.

And yet here we are with just a week to go and I can genuinely say I’m undecided.

Let me try to summarise my position (if only for my own benefit!)

Every time I come back from Europe I come back impressed by the culture, the more relaxed lifestyle, the better grasp of work/life balance. And do I want my children to be able to work and travel freely in Europe? Of course, I do. Would leaving the EU lead to short-term uncertainty? Without a doubt. But do I think we need to import unskilled workers from Eastern Europe at the expense of skilled workers from the former Commonwealth? Not for one minute.

Do I think absolute control of your own borders is one of the basic definitions of a country? Yes.

Do I think our position ‘at the heart of Europe’ is secure if we vote Remain? No I don’t. And our position – and the whole of Europe – will be far less secure if Turkey is eventually admitted to the EU.

As a farmer’s wife, I do sometimes wonder if we’re the only country that obeys the rules. European farming regimes seem – how can I put this – somewhat more relaxed than ours.

I doubt that Greek farmers worry about the rules on field margins as much as we do, animal welfare is sometimes conspicuous by its absence. I could go on and on making pro and anti-EU arguments. And I’d be no closer to deciding. That for me is one of the most interesting parts of this whole debate.

Those people I speak to whose argument can be summed up in one sentence, have made their mind up and they’re not changing it. Those people who’ve looked at both sides of the argument, who’ve read articles and watched the news remain – like me – undecided. But you say, you run a business, surely you’re voting Remain? Again, I’m undecided – I find the economic case difficult to make either way.

I remember sitting next to John Longworth at a Chamber event. He was the first person who made the Leave case to me with passion and logic.

As someone who’s built a business I can see the parallels between voting Leave and starting out on your own. Do you have the confidence that you’ll succeed? Are you going to determine your own future – or are you going to let someone else do it?I’ve no doubt at all that if it were a ‘Should we join’ referendum the result wouldn’t even be close. But it isn’t – and I’ve a week to make my decision.

So with that I’ll leave you and return to the news bulletins, the headlines – and my search for a calm, rational politician.