By Lyndsey Hall
This Thursday, 23rd June, the nation will vote in the first EU referendum for over forty years. With all the politic discourse, contradictory arguments and confusing rhetoric that have been pervading the public consciousness for months now, it is impossible to guess which way the vote will go. The latest polls show the two campaigns are currently neck and neck.
If you are still struggling to understand the implications of Thursday’s referendum, let me tell you, this is the most important vote of our generation.
If you’re not sure whether to bother turning up at the polling station as you don’t think you can make a difference, I assure you, this referendum could come down to a single vote.
You may be disappointed, disillusioned and disgusted with the way the campaigns have been run. Don’t let that stop you from making your voice heard.
Whichever way you are leaning, whether you are firmly on one side or the other, or wavering between the two until the last second; don’t let someone else decide your future.
Unlike an election, a referendum allows the majority of voting age adults to vote, usually with a simple “Yes” or “No” answer to a particular question; and the side with over half of all votes wins.
The most recent referendum in the UK was the Scottish Independence referendum, held on 18th September 2014, in which Scottish nationals voted on the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Had the residents of Scotland voted yes, 24th March 2016 would have come to be known as Scottish Independence Day; however, a majority of 55.3% voted to remain within the UK.
Britain’s membership of the EU has always been controversial, ever since we joined what was then the European Economic Community (EEC) back in 1973. The union was created after World War Two, as an economic and political partnership, to encourage countries to cooperate and trade with each other. The noble intention of which was to avoid any further wars. Since then, it has grown into a “single market”, with 28 European countries allowing goods and people to travel in between the member states freely.
A referendum was held on 6 June 1975, two and a half years after Britain first joined the EEC, to decide whether the UK would continue to be a member. When asked “Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (the Common Market)?” 67% of Brits voted “Yes”.
The wording of the question is of particular importance; it must be clear what the respondent is being asked to decide, and it must not contain any bias either way. The original question that was chosen for the Scottish independence referendum was “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” However, this was altered before the referendum took place, as the phrase “do you agree” could subconsciously encourage people to vote “Yes”; thereby agreeing instead of deciding for themselves.
This week, the question that will be answered by millions of British voters is: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”
How do you think the British public will vote on Thursday? Are you worried about how the result could affect your business and personal life? Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a comment below.