OPINION: Brexit or Remain - does anyone know or care?

By Colin Shairp, Director, Fine and Country Southern Hampshire

Monday, 6th June 2016, 5:00 pm
Updated Monday, 6th June 2016, 5:32 pm
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You may get run over by Boris’s Big Red Bus with its knock-out slogan about us paying £50m a day into the EU coffers (it used to say £350m a week), strictly true yet at the same apparently not strictly accurate.

Remain campaigners say the figure doesn’t take account of the rebate negotiated by Margaret Thatcher or the money sent back to various parts of the UK, Boris says the bus is ready to Leave without the sceptics on board.

As one who was born and brought up on a remote Hebridean island, I have seen the signs littering the Scottish countryside to remind people that EU funding has improved their roads, bridges, and other community facilities.

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Sadly, the EU didn’t send anyone to paint the door of the island shop my parents owned so I did it on the day Charles married Diana instead of sitting in front of the telly.

Appropriately, it was Royal Blue to remind me what I was missing.

Judging by how close the debate has been, what is certain is that after the Brexit poll roughly 50 per cent of the country will be happy with the outcome and the other 50 per cent thoroughly miserable. “We wuz robbed” will be the cry well ahead of the football season re-starting and Nigel Farage will almost certainly be pictured holding a pint of beer aloft, either to celebrate or drown his sorrows.

The debate has degraded into the Boris and Dave show while the country’s thirst for real facts goes unquenched. One side invokes memories of Hitler, the other predicts World War 3, and the rest of us fight for air as we are overwhelmed by a tide of nonsense.

Ultimately, the outcome will have little immediate effect, either because we are staying in or because it will take a long time to talk our way out of EU membership. Life will go on, people will buy houses, and in 10 years’ time estate agents will still be in business.

If property prices have fallen 18 per cent, as our current chancellor predicts, following Brexit there may be more activity in the market because residential property has become more affordable. And lettings agents may find life a lot easier because there will allegedly be far fewer immigrants to check up on with regard to their right of residence.

In the meantime, I’m trying to forget the vote. June 23 will come, it will go, and life will carry on. By the end of July the noise will be done, the silly season will be filling the papers and TV bulletins with a different type of fanciful rubbish, and we will all be preparing for the Autumn market invigorated by the certainty of an outcome to the referendum.

If that latter part sounds fanciful, it must be true. I probably read it on a website, saw it on the side of a bus, or just made it up. Either way, because you’ve read it, it must be true.

That’s the way the referendum debate has gone so far, after all.