Don't tell anyone but I know the result of the referendum

I'm not a betting man. However, I will wager that we have embarked on an entirely predictable referendum media journey and outcome - but we'll have to endure the usual shenanigans and whipped-up hysteria before we finally limp over the finish line, brain fried.

It's the economy, stupid (and it always has been), argues Marc De Leuw
It's the economy, stupid (and it always has been), argues Marc De Leuw
I don’t need a crystal ball, I haven’t started drinking loose tea. I’m just too long in the tooth to know that the Brexit dot-to-dot media fest can play out in any other way than these ten steps:

1.  The big guns come out in favour of remaining – waving a new agreement for Britain in a ‘reformed’ EU.

2. The charismatic mavericks (slightly smaller guns) come out in favour of leaving and say the reforms aren’t worth the paper they are written on (and they’re right).

3. More charismatic mavericks join the charismatic mavericks as the ‘No’ bandwagon gains momentum.

4. A series of polls all indicating the nation is in favour of remaining will come out – but we’ll be reminded at every opportunity how wrong the 2015 general election polls were when David Cameron pulled off a majority victory to defy them.

5. And this is the big one. One contradictory poll will come out saying the referendum is ‘TOO CLOSE TO CALL’. Media frenzy breaks out. Every newspaper, radio and TV station (and social media) will jump on this disproportionately and cite this at every opportunity to grow their audiences and spice up the debate. And on this one occasion, they will conveniently omit to mention that polls can be inaccurate.

6. Paranoia, hysteria and self-doubt ensues as the ground shifts under our feet and we realise that the Channel is, in fact, an ocean.

7. Silence (and anxiety), as the polls are put on hold and the due process of the run-in to the vote is observed.

8. The broadcast media do what they are best at doing – responsible journalism incorporating all the rules of balance and impartiality that are the principled bedrock of British democratic society.

9. David Dimbleby, Jeremy Vine and Tom Bradby are wheeled out for referendum specials. We are told turnout is unusually high.

10. The result! Are you ready for a surprise that’s going to shake this nation’s foundations to the core? Well you shouldn’t be because I’m telling you I will eat my hat (are you listening Paddy Ashdown?) if the result is anything other than a robust ‘Remain’.

And why will we remain? Because we’re Europhiles? No, not the majority. It’s just because most of us hate change. And the only time we’ll ever want to enact radical transformation and jump into the darkness of uncertainty is if the status quo is just too difficult to bear.  

And right now it’s not. Britain is doing OK – relatively. That’s because of or in spite of Europe.  

So why rock the cross-channel ferry?  ‘It’s the economy stoopid!’ Always has been, always will be...

Did I tell you my hat was made of marzipan?

Marc de Leuw is managing director of ISEBOX

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