EU Referendum – The Big Day Arrives, Spend Matters Says Vote … ?

So today is the most significant day for the UK for many years. When we wake up tomorrow, we will know if the country has voted to take the huge step into the unknown and leave the EU, or to stick with what we know and work to reform the organisation from the inside. We know that literally millions of voters are waiting for some steer from us, having assessed already the wisdom of the Times, the Guardian and the Daily Star and deciding that only Spend Matters has the true insight and understanding necessary to advise – so here we go.

Overshadowed in some senses by the tragic murder of Jo Cox, the referendum campaign has been notable for heat rather than light. On the “Remain” side, we have been promised the end of western civilisation as we know it, economic disaster, and being ignored by every other major country forever. Frankly, some of the fear tactics have been absurd, and even George Osborne’s friends pointed out that his “punishment budget” was ridiculous both conceptually and practically.

The dire warnings of economists have been taken with a particularly large pinch of salt by much of the population, with some justification. Economics is not a pure science, and the profession has a long track record of being wrong on major events at least as often as it is right.

On the other hand, the “Brexit” side has strayed into xenophobic territory at times, and failed to recognise the huge contribution immigrants have made to this country, and the benefits of being a diverse melting pot for the brightest and best around Europe.

Their claims have been equally daft at times – such as the £350 million a week “saving” which is of course not all available to be spent on the NHS. (They should have focused on the net contribution, which would still have been a worthwhile number to highlight). Their claims around the cost of the EU procurement process were also ridiculous and Michael Gove should have known better than to spout such rubbish on some of these issues.

So, how will Spend Matters vote? Two big issues dominate our thinking. On the one hand, there surely will be some economic shock if we go. That is a worry, and it would be a step into the unknown at a time when the global economy is looking shaky again.

On the other, we do have to face one important issue. We cannot have freedom of movement in an expanding Europe forever. We cannot have no limits on the population of the UK - can the UK cope with a population of 70 million? How about 80? How about 100 million?  There has to be a limit, that’s not racist, it is just common sense. Controlling its own borders is a fundamental role for any state – and I do hope that if “Remain” wins, our elected representatives realise this, because it won’t go away as an issue.

I’m still therefore sitting on the fence.  Then, at the weekend, I suddenly realised – I’m away at a board meeting on Thursday, with my non-executive hat on, and won’t be around at all to vote – and I have failed to get a postal vote! I know, that’s awful isn’t it? Not fulfilling my democratic duty and all that. But in a way I am pleased -  I’m not sure I feel comfortable bearing responsibility in either direction given how I feel.

Anyway, we will know in 24 hours, and it will all either seem like a massive anti-climax and fuss about nothing – or we will be desperately writing articles about what exactly Brexit means for procurement functions and individuals. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy a historic day.

Voices (3)

  1. Oliver Paice:

    I believe Jo’s name was Cox and not Cash by the way.

  2. bitter and twisted:

    This is how to vote

    https://twitter.com/moderntoss/status/731027530086526976

    (and on that basis, one clear loser)

  3. Craig Knowles:

    Great read, you have made some very important points. From speaking to people that I know there is definitely a case for ‘sitting on the fence’.

    Personally I feel let down by both sides, neither have convinced me of their point of view or shown that what they are stating isn’t exaggerated nonsense.

    My hope is that UK citizens can see through any fear-mongering tactics and choose a rationale decision that they feel is best for the future of UK. Because as you mentioned no one can be certain of the economic impact that leaving or staying will have in the long term.

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