As a lawyer, I have been trained to gather the evidence, examine it, ask relevant questions and then come to an informed decision based on an analysis of the best available evidence.
I am sure I speak for many in suggesting that I find the constant sound bites of the political classes in relation to “Brexit” extremely tedious. They appear to be more interested in throwing insults at each other than in articulating the factual background required for a properly informed debate. Indeed, it is a concern that people, some of whom appear to have such a limited grasp of the facts, are attempting to lead the debate.
I have therefore decided to avoid listening to the politicians and do my own research. The outcome is likely to have a significant impact on individuals, families and businesses both in the short term and in the medium to long term and we all owe it to ourselves to establish the facts as well as we can. Anyone reading this might therefore be interested in:-
• A book called “Europe: In or Out – Everything we need to know” by Richard Charters. When I got into the detail of this book I started to realise how complex the whole thing is with a large number of inter-connected treaties. It also gives some explanation of the situation in which Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Lichtenstein find themselves as members of the European Economic Area or the European Free Trade Area. As there is no precedent for Brexit, it is appropriate to consider the relationship which “Non EU” countries in Europe have with the EU in order to look for some clue as to what a Brexit settlement might look like;
• A Report produced by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee comprised of ten members equally split between Remain and Leave. The Report claims to be an unbiased source of information and readers will be able to make their own assessment before coming to any conclusion; and
• A booklet produced by the David Hume Institute which attempts to present the arguments in a balanced and informed way. It also contains some interesting commentary on the complexities of the “Scottish question” in the event that Scotland votes “remain” and the rest of the UK votes “leave”.
The more I have looked at the historical background and looked at the complex weave of International Treaties involved, the more I have come to realise what a difficult and complex issue this is. While some knowledge of the historical context and the current reality will help us to make an informed assessment of the situation as it exists today, we must bear in mind that we are also making a judgement about what both Europe and the wider world might look like in the short, medium and long term and how the UK would be best placed to take advantage of the challenges and opportunities ahead of us.
I hope these publications might be useful to anyone trying to get to an unbiased version of the facts so that they are as well-informed as they can be when it comes to polling day.