So the long awaited official campaign for the EU Referendum has begun.
We have the Vote Leave and the Britain Stronger in Europe parties representing each side.
Up until now, it has been difficult to gather the ‘hard and fast’ facts from which to make our decisions.
We have been presented with biased views and ‘political bufoonary’ from individuals that are intent on point scoring for their respective parties.
It would be an understatement to say that the referendum comes at a time of much disillusion around the political system.
A time of uncertainty and concern that there is ‘no safe pair of hands’.
The bigger uncertainty however lies in our decision making and the way the polls go on 23 June.
This is big, scary grown-up stuff – right? A big decision we are making. For us and for the future generation.
This knocks GE2015 into touch.
I’m not sure we can change our mind after 5 years if it doesn’t do what it said on the tin.
It can also be hard to approach writing about things such as this when others appear to be so much more learned.
So, I’m holding up my hand and saying that there is a hell of a lot I don’t know.
There is also a hell of a lot I want to know and learn over the next few months.
Of course there are a few pertinent points around which to hang a decision and many will take this route.
It would be very easy to follow suit here but my concern here is the rest of the implications. Those that individually and collectively, we may know less about. There are so many facets to each choice.
We can listen to very persuasive interviews and feel slightly more fired up towards a particularly stance, only to be swayed again when an opposing viewpoint is given.
I am too young to remember life before the EU or whether that is relevant in any way to form a decision now given the changing landscape of our world.
I’m also taking a leap of faith in thinking that there are others that can identify with all of the above.
I have become more interested in politics in recent years and have listened, learned and read as much as I possibly can.
I guess it comes from being more comfortable around your own decision making and views.
Nothwithstanding this, I do still feel a lack and I wish to learn more. This is for no other reason than the desire to own my vote.
When you are a child growing up, you tend to be influenced by the political views of your parents.
I can remember spending many lessons in a cold corridor in secondary school for sharing my fathers views and thoughts on the world with my very politically charged English teacher.
They clearly held very different political views and I, of course, had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.
As we move on some 30 odd years, the world is indeed a very different place. Many of my fathers views would no longer be relevant now. I often wonder how his political stance would have changed over the years.
It is at times like this when I look to those more learned and ask their advice.
Unfortunately, all of those people are pretty much in the same boat as I am right now. They are also unsure.
Perhaps naively, I was hoping for clarity to drop through the post in the form of the government missive. I was disappointed.
Views vary also cross political parties and whilst the main parties are encouraging a ‘remain’ vote, none of the parties are necessarily united in their stance.
We are now seeing those in the political arena come together to collaborate irrespective of their parties.
It is going to be an interesting few months where I imagine we are going to see the most unlikely alliances standing together on one stage.
And it’s not just here either. Everyone is getting involved. ‘Our global influence is at risk if we leave’. Nothing finer than that statement to cause a knee jerk reaction.
And the celebs are having a say too. Bring it on if it’s going to bring clarity for us.
It’s difficult not to feel manipulated in one way or another.
Several agendas at play here.
Not much we can do about that though.
My main point here is that I don’t want to be a ‘fear’ voter.
A voter that gets scared off from embracing something that will mean change – particularly if such a change is for the greater good – whether that be ‘in’ or ‘out’ simply through lack of understanding.
It’s very difficult to make a decision that interferes with what we know as the norm.
What we need to avoid is a nation becoming so afraid of walking into the unknown that they react with a knee jerk vote.
Of course everyone outside Britain knows what we should do and they are telling us too.
Understandable that everyone should be looking after their own interests.
But the agenda of others is not ours.
There is nothing democratic about that. It makes a mockery of our system.
I really want to own my vote and be confident that I have made the right choice.
For me that’s going to mean a lot of reading and a lot of learning and a lot of questions. I also love a good discussion and debate on things such as this. So if anyone wants to share their confusion or has read any useful pieces to share that have helped them, please do comment.
What are you doing to help inform your decision?
Perhaps you have already made one.
Have you found it easy or are you, like me, still ploughing through the facts?
Either way I’m sure you’ll agree that there are interesting times ahead.