As I write, I’m still not quite sure what the EU referendum question will be. But “Do you agree that Britain should stay in the EU?” seems a likely option – with all the advantage of “positivity bias” accruing to the “IN” Campaign. That’s wrong, but I suspect there’s little we can do about it. Meantime, I’d like to suggest some alternative questions.
Do you believe that the UK has the right, and the ability, to govern itself as an independent, democratic nation?
Do you believe that our laws should be made by politicians that we have elected (and can dismiss), rather than by unaccountable foreign institutions?
Do you believe that Britain should control its borders, so that we can decide on how many immigrants we should admit, and what qualifications they should have? Do you agree that immigration policy should not discriminate on grounds of nationality (as it does at the moment)?
Do you think that we should be free to remove from the UK foreign nationals who are here illegally, or who have committed serious offences, or are implicated in terrorism?
Do you think that we pay too much for energy? Are you concerned that swathes of manufacturing industry are closing plants and moving investment and jobs off-shore because of high UK/EU energy prices? Are you worried about the risks to security of supply as a result of current energy policies and plant closures?
Do you agree that the City of London with its vital financial services sector should be regulated within the UK, and not subject (for example) to the utterly destructive EU proposals for a Financial Transactions Tax?
Are you concerned that the EU’s Working Time Directive is creating mayhem in the NHS, driving up costs and preventing comprehensive training of junior doctors? And that the Directive is doing similar damage across a range of industries including haulage and hospitality?
Do you agree that British farmers would be better off with a farm support mechanism designed for them in Britain, rather than a farm support mechanism designed in Brussels for French farmers?
Do you agree that we in Britain should be able to control our fisheries in internationally recognised UK waters, rather than regarding these fisheries as a “common EU resource” open to Spanish and other boats?
Are you aware that widely accepted estimates for the total costs of Britain’s EU membership amount to an eye-watering 10 to 11% of GDP?
Did you know that it’s possible to trade with the EU without being a member, and that the three largest exporters to the EU (Russia, China, the USA) have no preferential trade deals with the EU at all? Are you aware that on leaving the EU, Britain will certainly have a free trade arrangement with the EU and that UK/EU trade (and the jobs dependent on it) will continue?
Are you proud of the fact that Britain is one of the most globally networked and connected countries in the world (UN Security Council; NATO; World Bank; OECD; OSCE; G7; G20; Commonwealth – and after Brexit, resuming our full place on the WTO), and cannot become “isolated and marginalised”?
If you’re answering “Yes” to these questions, you’ll want to answer “NO” in the referendum.