By far the most popular response made by people being questioned in the street by journalists over which way they’ll vote in the 23 June referendum is: “We want to see more detailed figures of what it will cost the country whether we leave the EU or remain in it.”
Which is all very strange because on normal voting occasions, electors will almost totally vote strictly as to whether one party or the other has made specific promises, not for the health of the country as a whole, but in their own personal , or class’s, interests.
The arguments for and against remaining in the EU make no specific promises to individual or class interests, but to wider issues such as national sovereignty or future economic viability (or in other words, will our general standard of living go up or down?).
The reality is that the coming referendum is not about people’s interests but those of the top politicians. And by this is meant the senior civil servants — who largely succeed in being unobtrusive — as well as the elected populist MPs.
So what we actually have are senior civil servants and top politicians — of both the left and the right — voting to stay in the EU because they want to retain the predominant power of the non-elected Brussels bureaucracy.
The reason why the primacy of the Brussels bureaucracy is attractive to top British civil servants is obvious — it’s more of the same. But it’s also attractive to top politicians because its highly regulatory nature — and regulations are more easily dealt with by big business rather than by smaller businesses who constantly threaten them from below.
And, of course, it is big business which is more able to give well-paid directorships and consultancies to retired civil servants and politicians for help given to them in the past.
So what we have in Britain is a Labour Party which is largely partial to the EU because of its highly regulatory nature and a Conservative Party which is largely partial because it always goes along with the interests of big business. Thus, what we’ll have come 25 June is something near 50% of the population voting along their normal party lines to remain and 50% of presently undecideds who will split between yes and no.
We’ll only be leaving the EU when the whole construction collapses.