So, we are just a few days away from what is possible the most momentous vote in our countries history. As I write the opinion polls are moving from one side to another with many still to make up their mind. Today, while out leafleting I heard from people who were voting both Remain & Leave and some who had yet to make up their mind. This means that even at this stage there is all still to play for and no one can be complacent.
For those still trying to make up their minds, I have one suggestion. Don’t trust what either side says. As I said right at the beginning of the campaign, look for references, links to the sources to back up what people have said, that way you can know that the writer has researched their article and has something to back up what they are saying, not just making it up to fit their argument.
No one knows what will happen on June 23rd but I agree with what our MP said to me after the debate we took part in this week, that the worst possible result would be a narrow victory for either side would mean that there could be weeks of court cases as the losers contest the result on numerous grounds (I have seen enough illegal active from the Leave campaign both locally and nationally that could be used to try to overturn a narrow victory for Leave & I suspect the Leave campaign feel the same about the Remain side).
I hope that the result will be clear cut for Remain or Leave (obviously I would prefer Remain) so we can then go forward to deal with the outcome, make the decisions both nationally and personally based on certainty.
When out campaigning in the last few weeks, I have been verbally abuse, and more than once felt physically threatened, by of those who disagreed with my views. This is unacceptable and a threat to our democracy.
Last week we saw an escalation in the violence with the first murder of a sitting MP for 25 years (see my own reaction in Jo Cox RIP). Whatever your views on the UK remaining in the EU are, no one should be abused, feel threatened, assaulted, much less murdered, because of their sincerely held opinions. All of us (and I include myself) must learn to respect others who disagree with us; we can challenge what they say, not their right to say it.
Finally, can I ask everyone to spare a thought for the election staff across the country who on Thursday will oversee the Referendum and then the count. The polling stations open of 7:00 am on Thursday and the final results are not due to be announced until 7:00 am on Friday morning. Many of the staff (and some of the campaigners too, though I less sympathy for them) involved will be up for the whole process. I know that everywhere they will do their duty to the best of their ability in what could be very trying circumstances.