In or out?

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Can you imagine asking a whole lot of primary school kids if they want to remain in school or leave it? Even at that age most of them would realise that the choice was too starkly simple for the complexities of the question. Would you trust the majority decision was the right one for everyone in the school?

As David Mitchell – clever, funny writer – said in his Observer column during the run-up to the referendum, he didn’t feel qualified to form an opinion on the question. The politicians had reneged on their responsibilities. After all, they are voted in to parliament to debate difficult questions of national importance.

Left to our own devices, many of us kept asking for the facts. But there could be no valid facts about a situation as hypothetical as a future exit from the EU. Besides, facts are rarely served up from an unbiased source.

The choice was as simple as between red and black on a roulette wheel. We were left to question our guts and vote accordingly. A couple of friends spent the weeks before the vote on opposing sides. Each day they swapped positions and voted against each other on the crucial day.

The referendum acted like a giant screen on which we hapless citizens could project all our hopes and fears, whether they were relevant to the hoped-for outcome or not. I noticed that many of the same arguments were used by each side. If we remain, this will happen. If we’re out, the same “this” will happen. An Alice in Wonderland world. Now we are to live with the result, created by a tiny majority of the small proportion of the population who voted.

Let’s cross our fingers – and wish Theresa May good luck.

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