Who am I to write a post about the EU referendum? What do I know? I'm not a politician or a political journalist. I'm not even an academic or an economist. I'm just your run-of-the-mill, averagely well-informed voter.
Now I'll be upfront about this - I really want to want to be an EU citizen and for the UK to be part of the EU. I feel that all the debate and arguments I have read about, watched and listened to are generally stacked in favour of this.
But I do have concerns, grave concerns, about staying in the EU the way it is at the moment. My fear is that if I vote for Remain I am giving a mandate for the EU to carry on as it is. I worry that if we do stay within the EU, post-referendum the rest of Europe will then be able to say "Ha! No more EU 'a la carte' for you Brits! Now you have to suck it up and get on with it!"
Now let's just imagine for a moment that my concerns are representative of a sizeable chunk of the electorate. Might we end up voting for Brexit simply because people are worried that the EU hasn't sufficiently reformed, or perhaps because they don't understand the ways in which it has already reformed?
It seems to have been dropped from the Remain campaign language, but a few months ago there was a lot of talk of how we would be staying within a 'reformed EU'.
But it's far from clear to me as a voter exactly how much reform has yet taken place. According to Boris Johnson, the negotiations that David Cameron undertook do not amount to 'fundamental reform of the EU or Britain's relationship with the EU'. Ian Duncan Smith has even said that the reforms have left Britain 'more vulnerable', and that 'we are now in a worse position than we were before'.
If the Remain campaign are confident that the negotiations are meaningful and significant then they absolutely need to spell out how the EU has reformed.
And if not, with the prospect of Brexit looking increasingly likely and a lot of people's desire to leave the EU being because it has not sufficiently reformed, is now not the time to be negotiating additional reforms?
In the final tense days before the Scottish independence referendum, the SNP negotiated more powers to be devolved to Scotland in the event of a No vote. In the same way, might now not be the time to negotiate more reforms in the event that we stay in - in order to reassure voters and encourage them to vote for Remain?
Yes I know that the cogs in the Brussels machine are slow to turn and that hammering out additional reform takes time. But where there is a will there is a way. If Jean-Claude Juncker or Donald Tusk (or Angela Merkel for that matter) are really that keen for the UK to remain a part of the EU, now is the time for them to act. Because frankly, an insufficiently reformed EU is likely to cause many to vote for Brexit who might otherwise have voted for Remain.
The way it is right now, leave or remain - the choice isn't an easy one. Stuck between a rock and a hard place might just be the understatement of the millennia so far.Suggest a correction