Steve Beauchampé is off to find some ear plugs.
Hide behind the sofa! There’s going to be war in Europe, a new recession is unstoppable, house prices will plummet, taxes will rise, millions of jobs will be lost, pensions will be worthless, the NHS will collapse, terrorists will swarm across the channel, 13 million Turks are coming. Boris is walking down my street with a sandwich board that claims the end is nigh! This feels like the very definition of being between a rock and a hard place: Vladimir Putin, Nigel Farage and the Ukippers, the BNP, Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un, Winston Churchill, Gillian Duffy, the head of Islamic State, the new Taliban leader, they all want us to vote Leave.
Conversely, Mark Carney, Cameron and Osborne, Tony Blair, the IMF, the World Bank, OECD, the G7, G8, G20, GCHQ, the Treasury, the EU heads of state, OPEC, the CEOs of the FTSE 100 companies, the European Central Bank, Xi Jinping, the Queen, Princess Diana, William Shakespeare, Napoleon, Adolf Hitler… yes, apparently even Hitler wants us to vote Remain!
And with over a month before polling day there’s still time for Josef Stalin, Genghis Khan (brother of Sadiq?), Pol Pot, the Russian and Sicilian mafias, Jose Mourinho and Malala to be claimed by one side or the other.
Stay in and we’re doomed, leave and we’re finished. As the quality of argument and debate around the forthcoming EU referendum increasingly resembles high farce and plumbs the depths of irrationality and banality, perhaps we are witnessing the logical conclusion to Conservative strategist Lynton Crosby’s fear factor campaign tactics that proved so successful in both the Scottish Independence referendum of 2014 and the 2015 General Election campaign.
Buried somewhere beneath this cacophony of useless noise a few saner voices are being made all but inaudible; Alan Johnson and John McDonnell are amongst several Labour politicians to have made rational interventions, so too the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, Tim Farron of the Lib Dems, Baroness Jenny Jones and Caroline Lucas for the Green Party, journalists such as Kevin Maguire, Stig Abell and Matthew Syed. But you have to search way below the headlines to find them, they don’t predict the apocalypse or financial meltdown, they talk about such matters as the environment, freedom of movement, human rights, employment protection, consumer protection, TTIP and the impact of EU laws and regulations on nationalised industries and public services.
So before I cast my vote, it will be to those voices and their arguments on these issues that I will listen. I’ve had more than enough of Boris and Michael, of Dave and George, of Nigel and John-Claude, of IDS and Adolf. I just wish that the mainstream media had too because never has so vital a political decision left me feeling so disengaged and less enthusiastic.