“The EU is already making 60% of our laws” – Daily Telegraph columnist Boris Johnson, April 22, 2016.
“Most of Our Laws are not EU-Made” – March 7, 2015, headline on Christopher Booker column in Daily Telegraph attacking a Business for Britain (BfB) “definitive” study that 64.7% of UK laws come from EU.
The launch of the official political campaign in mid-April hasn’t clarified arguments for and against staying in the club.
And the official campaign hasn’t smothered the unofficial in-fighting between factions on both sides.
For a start, everyone has already forgotten about the legendary four negotiating baskets donated to the referendum campaign by the European Commission into which David Cameron carefully placed all his available pro-European oeufs.
For a finish, it will all come down to gut feelings based on decades of enjoyable tales about bent bananas, euro-sausages, funny foreigners, and faceless unelected eurocrats.
And between the start and the finish is a cacophony of clashing voices claiming to know all about unknowable outcomes based on fuzzy-headed partisan ideas, and making a public relations disaster of the whole thing.
So we must now widen the referendum campaign to create a “third way” voice representing the views of the vast majority of people who can’t make head or tail of who’s right and who’s wrong.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to unleash the might of the Stay on the Fence Campaign.
It is time, quite possibly, for ordinary people to stand up and be, if not counted, then at least acknowledged as the biggest united voice in this ill-informed, ill-tempered and yet somehow quite enthralling clash of wills over where we, as a nation, stand, or, in the case very many, sit, on issues of reasonably-high importance.
And where the masses sit is on the fence, a very useful vantage point from where they can see quite clearly both sides of the argument, and recognise the scaremongering on both sides for what it really is – scaremongering.
So why is there no fence option on the referendum ballot paper?
Ah yes, you say, but the proposed Stay on the Fence campaign would be, in effect, just a very wishy-washy branch of the Remain campaign.
Ah no, comes the reply; fence-sitting is a long-established and distinctly British style of commitment to the cause of not upsetting the status quo while avoiding complicity with excitable federalist types whose fervour can be quite disturbing.
And of course fence-sitting avoids complicity with excitable nationalistic types whose fervour can also be quite disturbing.
If the net result is staying in the EU, so be it.
The fact is that the addition of a fence-sitting option on the referendum ballot paper would generate a much more balanced debate and massively increase voter turn-out, and that can only be a good thing.
I have no doubt that the fence-sitters would be invincible.
United under the slogan “Don’t Stand For It – Sit on the Fence”, the leaders of the Stay on the Fence campaign would work about eight hours a day except weekends and bank holidays from now until polling day to get the message across.
They would try to be much more lukewarm than the Remainers and Leavers about what the whole EU project really means to you and your families.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the people of Britain should never have been put in this uncomfortable position, but we are where we are.
And choosing to stay sitting on the fence means you cannot be wrong.
Or indeed, right.
Sitting on the fence will not end the uncertainty.
But it will enable us to carry on having our cake and eating it while avoiding putting all our eggs in one basket.
On the other hand, we will have to keep the baby AND the bathwater.
Because where we stand on Europe is where we sit.
On the fence.
And there will be no climb-down. (Cushions will be provided).