Just over two weeks to go and my thoughts on brexit are still roughly the same. It is still the Leave campaign’s burden to convince people to vote against the status quo, and the Leave campaign has been uninterested in getting basic things right. They are so bad, so dishonest, so lacking in credibility, that if it wasn’t for the fact that they seem to being reasonably successful at building support, you might even suspect that they were secret Remainers. The EU is blatantly a terrible organisation in many respects, so the fact the Leave campaign has been so underwhelming is poor reflection on the competence of those involved with it.
Leave hasn’t presented a single credible argument that stands up to basic scrutiny. They say it will improve our ability to forge trade deals, except we would still have to trade with the EU but now with less influence and higher tariffs, and our pressing need to form a lot of new trade deals will put us at a disadvantage anyway. They say it will decrease immigration but haven’t proposed an immigration plan that actually achieves that*. They say we will be able to increase spending on X, Y and Z, but haven’t budgeted for all of these things, nor have they accounted for the loss in GDP that Remain supporters predict. They say that it will make houses affordable for young people again, but we could make houses affordable by building more of them and offering less credit, and the reason we’re not doing that has nothing to do with the EU.
Regardless, I worry that the recent polls are accurate and we are edging towards a very narrow Leave victory. I still expect Remain to win by a comfortable margin in reality, but the polls are concerning. If Leave do win, it will be by a tiny margin won by the grey vote, many of whom will be dead in the next ten years and most of whom don’t rely on having a job to maintain their quality of life, but any negative effects of leaving will be felt disproportionately by younger people, the majority of whom will have voted to remain. I wonder if they would be so willing to vote Leave if there was a clause built into the referendum that any increased welfare spending as a result of leaving would be coming out of increased taxes on private pension withdrawals and savings.
* I personally agree that the current net migration figure of 300k per year is unsustainably high and should be brought down to more like 50k.