In the last couple of years there has been experienced two different referendum campaigns and they couldn’t seem more different. The first, the Scottish independence referendum, was all consuming for nearly a year, with everyone in the country (well 97%) taking a direct interest. The second, the Brexit referendum, less so.
It is now officially less than a month until the British electorate decides whether or not we should remain in the European Union, yet half the people spoken to still don’t understand what the Union is and how it functions. What’s the Commission? The Council of Ministers? Not many people can relate the nature of these things to others.
By this point in the Scottish independence campaign, people from all walks of life had become political experts. The guy cutting your hair had three or four potential solutions to the currency problem, your taxi driver could predict the price of oil and everyone knew the names of both David Cameron and Alex Salmond.
Few people know who Jean-Claude Juncker is and fewer still understand what he does on a daily basis, despite the fact he is in charge of the European Commission which generates legislation for all 28 European Union member states. The European Union towers over our daily lives, whether you agree with it or not, and it would be foolish to ignore the next big question and allow only a handful of those who can be bothered to decide the fate of our country.
So, whether you are Remain or Leave, or if you just don’t know, it is dangerous and naive to abstain from this referendum through carelessness. Thus far no side has put forward a positive case either way and the media has seemed as bored with the whole thing as everyone else, but it is important not to let that get in the way.
The European Union has a history of growing in Britain without public consultation (do you remember approving the Lisbon Treaty? No, because you didn’t get the chance), so make sure you take this opportunity to have your say, regardless of your view. Active participation in the areas we are currently granted it in is the only way to extend mass political opportunities.