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Public Want Facts, Not Spin in EU Referendum Debate

02/06/2016 11:40 | Updated 02 June 2016

Some things seem to last forever. The winter. Recessions. For those of us uninterested in football, the premiership. Despite the fact that the campaign only officially kicked off in the middle of April, many people are already starting to feel the same way about the referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.

In less than three weeks, the public will go to the polls to make one of the most fundamental decisions in our country's modern history - whether to remain part of the EU or to leave.

Those arguing that Britain should leave the EU have had years, if not decades, to hone their case. Westminster is home to a large number of well-funded think-tanks, pressure groups and publications with full time staff all paid to build an irrefutable and evidence-based case for withdrawal.

Likewise, the Remain camp can point to support from the main political parties, the business community and interventions from key figures in international politics to help make the positive case for staying in the EU.

The public deserve a reasoned debate, with both sides offering positive and uplifting arguments about how the country would thrive if we were to choose Leave or Remain. But so far, that hasn't happened.

The nature of the campaign is making it difficult for voters to come to a decision. While both sides are convinced of the merits of their arguments, the debate has become dominated by what has become known as 'Project Fear', with dire predictions of economic collapse and an end to visa free travel on the continent from the Remain camp if we vote to leave, and, at the same time, the Leave side warning that Britain faces a threat from marauding Turkish and Albanian immigrants if we vote to stay.

The media coverage of the campaign has also been a hindrance. Too much commentary has been focused on what the result will mean for internal Conservative Party politics, or on personal insults that the two sides are directing against each other.

No wonder that with less than a month to go, 29% of the public say they don't know how they are going to vote, and 40% would like more information before coming to a final decision.

With the opinion polls neck and neck, the large number of undecided voters has the potential to decide the outcome of the race.

If you're still undecided, then in the first instance you should make sure you're registered to vote, and then seek out information that summarises the arguments for Leave and Remain without the vitriol or subjectivity. A particularly useful website is www.de-mob.co.uk.

In the early hours of 24th June, we'll find out whether Britain is in or out of the EU. You'll have to make up your own mind before then.

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