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EU Referendum – What to do if you don’t know what to do

EU referendum


We’ve been bombarded with messages about the EU Referendum for months now, but a recent report suggests that up to 30% of voters won’t actually make up their mind until the week of the referendum.

So if you haven’t come to a decision yet, don’t worry – neither have almost a third of your peers.

But if you’re completely stumped about what box to put your cross in on Thursday, June 23, here’s some unbiased advice on what you can do to help make your decision.

Step 1: Decide what is important to you

What are your priorities right now, and what do you expect to be your priorities in the next five/ten years?

Do you want house prices to go down, or is it more important to you that salaries go up?

Is childcare a concern for you, or are you a student worried about the graduate job market?

Are you concerned about how immigration will affect you, or do you perhaps want to live in an EU country at some point soon?

There’s an intimidating amount of information out there, but you’ll be able to sift through it better if you already know what issues matter to you.

Step 2: Ignore politicians

At this point both sides are just slinging mud and fear-mongering.

You’ll get much clearer, unbiased facts about the consequences of leaving/remaining elsewhere.

Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage poses during a media launch for an EU referendum poster in London, Britain June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Nigel Farage, being as understated as always

Step 3: Do your research

It can seem like you need a degree in politics and economics to understand some of what is being said about the Referendum, but there are places where the information is displayed clearly.

The BBC, as usual, has some great fact-reporting, presented in nice little bite-size Reality Check videos.

Step 4: This isn’t about party politics

The EU Referendum goes beyond party politics, which makes it harder as you can’t just vote for whatever party you always vote for.

It’s okay if you’re a Labour voter but you’re finding yourself agreeing with David Cameron in this instance, or vice versa.

David Cameron, U.K. prime minister, listens during a news conference following a meeting of European Union (EU) leaders in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday, Feb. 19. 2016. European Union leaders reached a deal aimed at keeping the U.K. in the bloc, allowing Cameron to call a referendum on EU membership as soon as June. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Cameron is finding the Referendum more divisive than he expected

Step 5: Step outside of your usual frame of reference

It’s worth looking at both sides of the argument, as you might be surprised by what you learn.

Both sides have valid arguments, and it would be foolish to completely ignore one side just because you’re traditionally left or right wing.

Step 6: Embrace some of the emotive elements – but don’t let them dictate your opinion

This is a very emotive debate, particularly when it comes to immigration, and voters are likely to choose a side based on emotion – be that the national pride of the Leave side, or the inclusive pride of the Remain side.

That’s not a bad thing. Just make sure you read the facts too, as you could be voting for a move that has your emotional backing, but would, in actuality, be financially damaging for you.

eu referendum: Latest poll. Illustration picture of postal ballot papers June 1, 2016 ahead of the June 23 BREXIT referendum when voters will decide whether Britain will remain in the European Union. REUTERS/Russell Boyce/Illustration/File Photo
Here’s what the polling cards will look like on 23rd June

Step 7: Remember that the worst-case scenario of either camp probably won’t happen

We’re probably not going to be sunk by immigration if we stay, and we’re probably not going to go completely bankrupt if we leave.

Step 8: Discuss it with friends

They may have some insight that you haven’t considered, and just discussing it may help you clarify some of your own opinions.

Step 9: Don’t put your head in the sand

This is happening now, there’s not much we can do about it. Deal with it.

Pretending it's not happening won't help (Picture: Getty)
Pretending it’s not happening won’t help

Step 10: Don’t assume that it’s a done deal

Polls are showing that Leave is currently leading, but remember the General Election polls last year, that had Labour slated to win? Remember how that worked out?

So don’t assume it’s a foregone conclusion either way – your vote does matter.

Step 11 : VOTE

This referendum is a big deal, and will affect everyone in the country for many years to come, so don’t just shrug and say it doesn’t apply to you. It definitely does.

So put aside a couple of hours of your time to read up on some of the issues and get yourself to a polling station on June 23 to have a say in the decision that will affect your life.


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About the author

Sydney Chesterfield

Poet, Playwright, Philosopher, Humanitarian, mad lover of children and unflinching fighter for equality on all grounds viz. Women's rights, child rights, sine die.

Twitter: @syd_field