Monday 20th June
In the last few days I have been more and more concerned that Leave would win. The ever un-reliable polls were showing steady if unspectacular leads for the Brexiteers, but of course opinion polls are just that, they are not a reliable predictor of what people will actually do on polling day. And there are a lot of brave shouters about, who, suddenly released from the polite constraints of normal politics, are able to express their innate prejudices in a raucous manner, but who on quiet reflection may not actually vote Leave. Just as we saw with the Scottish Referendum two years ago, there were opinion polls showing a Leave (Yes) lead but as polling day actually arrived the polls narrowed and in the end there was an almost ten point wn for staying part of the UK. Not that that settled the question of course, and despite the surge in support for the SNP I think that if there were another Scottish referendum held now they would still vote to stay.
And of course the sad and tragic death of Jo Cox has sobered a lot of the debate. Although there is sometimes a mob mentality among the English there is also a deep reserve of loving and caring understanding. And especially among women, who though they may not like the idea that we are moving more and more into an integrated multicultural world, who may tut when they read in the Mail about Polish shops on their High Streets, who may agree with their neighbours that there are too many foreigners over here, understand that the debate and the rhetoric may have gone too far. Some of the headlines have been ludicrous and close to racist, but at the end of the day they are just headlines. And the Remain camps message, driven home with ever more ridiculous blows of the hammer of made-up statistics and predictions of doom, is gradually hitting home.
At least the whole referendum campaign may have woken people up to realise that politics matter, that decisions taken, both in our name and actually by us, will affect our lives. It will be interesting to see the turnout figures, which in Scotland were very high and have remained high. If nothing else good comes out of this the very fact that people are having to think through the arguments is a positive. And, you read it here first – Remain will win.