COMMENT PIECE: There’s a third way in the EU referendum

I’m OUT... but there’s a third way in the EU referendum, writes THEO PAPHITIS

THE EU Referendum has been inescapable for the last few months and with the Countdown clock ticking down to the final few days, the nation holds the answer.

PUBLISHED: 08:00, Fri, Jun 10, 2016


Theo Paphitis says there is a third way in the EU referendum

But, with Cameron and the Stronger In camp continuing to drum home the message that leaving would be “catastrophic” for the country, I am struggling to understand why, if the outcome is SO catastrophic, he has entrusted this big decision to the Great British public.Some of the public haven’t even taken advantage of registering to vote causing a last minute stampede, crashing the government’s registration website and thus requiring urgent legislation to extend the deadline date. Others, including myself, feel overwhelmed with spin and are still undecided.  This worries me and should worry us all.I place logic at the centre of all my decisions, and recently, the PM asked us to vote with our hearts on this life changing issue.  This didn’t feel right to me, as I’ve always believed that you love with your heart… but for anything else, you use your head!

Both camps have seemingly thrown everything, including the kitchen sink at their arguments, but to what effect?  I have set up a weekly blog and Theo-EU-ometer just to try and make sense of what is being said day-in-day-out, and I, as a reasonably well-read and well-connected man, am struggling with a lot of what I’m hearing from both sides.How are people expected to decide when the big issues, such as trade, immigration, the effect upon small businesses and much, much more, are masked by personal attacks and fantastical, unbelievable claims on either side?The lack of an actual debate is greatly disappointing, un-statesman-like from some, and something that is letting us all down. To see the European Union facts debated, clearly, side by side and without spin is the only way the Great British public is going to be able to decide fairly on what is right for this nation.

It still remains to be seen whether the PM will accept Gove and Boris’s invitation to a public debate. I suspect that open letter may have been lost in the post though, sadly for us.I have listened to both sides with great interest and have often felt like throwing a shoe at my TV in exasperation.Both sides need to pull their socks up, straighten their ties and step out of the playground and into the real world. We need facts, not to be party to speeches that include five different ways to call fellow cabinet members ‘liars and conmen’ without actually using the word ‘liars’.How are some of these politicians going to be able to work together afterwards? The suggestion that they’re either liars or incompetent is not ideal for the people running our country and detracts from the big decision at hand.

It still remains to be seen whether the PM will accept Gove and Boris’s invitation to debate

A couple of weeks ago, I managed to come to a conclusion, albeit a “third option” and if I’m honest, not a totally satisfactory one. As I used to say on a certain TV show, “I’m OUT”, and this time I would like to say ‘I’m OUT….because I would like us all to stay IN.”  Let me explain.

I, personally, prefer that we stay in the EU, but not at any cost and certainly not as we know it today. Can I really have my cake and eat it? Well maybe I can.Because logic says that if everything the Remain campaign tells us, that there will be fire and brimstone, war and recession across Europe, is true and we vote to leave the EU then our friends in the EU will stop and smell the coffee, then propose the sort of reforms that many would like to see and would make them comfortable to remain.

On the other hand, if there is no logical renegotiation and the EU is prepared to cut off their nose to spite their face, it clearly tells me we’re better off out. This was not my original tactic.It should have just been a clear-cut in or out, but looking at what we’ve seen so far and the facts, or lack of, and the way this whole campaign has been run - including the negotiations that were done or not done before this referendum started - then you could argue the best way to leverage change and achieve our aim would be to vote out.But, if Cameron, Boris, Gove and the rest of the likely lads manage to find themselves in the same room, at the same time, debating the same topics like true statesmen whose intention is to both put their best foot forward in educating us in an un-biased, non-confrontational, non-sensationalist way, maybe my Theo-EU-ometer will find a new direction and I won’t need a third choice!

For more of my views on the EU Referendum visit