So, David Cameron and his new Conservative government have finally come clean about the actual wording of the question that they intend to put to the British electorate with regard to our country's continuing membership of the European Union, which is scheduled to take place before the end of 2017.
“Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?” is the question to be posed to the British people, ostensibly in the hope that most will support an affirmative response, simply because that's human nature; and it's what we're instinctively programmed to do. Because most, though not all of us, are naturally predisposed to take the easiest and most positive option whenever we're offered a variety of choices, especially ones where the potential outcomes may be difficult, uncertain or unknown, it can hardly be a huge surprise to anyone that Prime Minister Cameron has opted to make the "YES" vote, a choice of doing nothing, whilst the "NO" vote becomes a choice of doing something.
Of course, doing nothing, or simply voting "YES" to the question being posed, will offer some degree of security to those millions of British citizens who are rightly concerned about their jobs, their incomes, their vital services, or even their basic ability to travel abroad. After all, why change something that they've grown accustomed to, that on the face of it has little immediate impact on their daily lives, or that is somehow inevitable anyway? Why risk everything they have, everything they know and everything they take for granted, just on the off-chance that things might be better, if they were to gamble what they know they have at present, for what they might have in the future, assuming of course that everything goes to plan? Given those two differing choices, perhaps it is little wonder that as a rule, people tend to stick with the status quo, opt to do nothing; and in this particular case probably vote "YES" for the UK to remain as a member of the European Union, despite any individual misgivings they might continue to have about the European project generally.
At the same time, it will be incredibly difficult for any "NO" campaign to try and persuade these very same millions of British voters to actively "do something" about our country's continued EU membership, when all they can really promise them is a range of possible outcomes, were Britain and its people brave enough to free themselves from the social, economic and legal entanglements that have emerged from Brussels and Strasbourg over the past forty years or so. It would be no mean feat to try and turn back the clock, to a point where Britain first agreed to join a simple European trade bloc, rather than the supranational political union that the EU has since become.
Could it be done? Could Britain return to being an independent sovereign nation that simply wants to trade with its European neighbours, rather than being socially, economically, politically and legally entangled with them and their monolithic centralised organisation? Common sense would suggest that just as it's taken forty years to stitch the UK and the rest of Europe together, so it would take years to slowly unpick the layers of EU related legislation that have been woven into Britain's everyday rules and procedures, although that isn't to say that such long term unpicking is impossible. By simply invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, Britain would begin the slow disentanglement of the country from the European Union; and start the formal two-year process of re-establishing a trade-only relationship with our continental neighbours. It isn't hard, it isn't over complicated, but what such a process does require is for a majority of the British electorate to summon up the sort of self-confidence and courage that used to be characteristic of the nation as a whole.
Saying "YES" to our continuing European membership is easy, because it simply requires us to put our fears and concerns ahead of our hopes and our confidence, while saying "NO" to Europe requires us to put our hopes and our confidence ahead of our fears and concerns. Each of us in our turn have to decide whether or not Britain is big enough, brave enough, bold enough, or bright enough to confront the modern world head on and if necessary alone, or do we stay as we are, a much smaller and much diminished nation within a much larger European organisation, thereby leaving ourselves reliant on the likes of Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Poland, etc. for any of our future successes.
Speaking only for myself, as and when the UK's EU referendum finally comes around I will be voting "NO" to our continued membership of the European Union, if only because I believe that for us to continue as we are, towards becoming little more than a federal region of a much larger United States of Europe, will ultimately be BAD for Britain and its people.
In voting that way, I am saying "YES" to Europe as purely trading partners, but "NO" to the European Union as my system of government. At the same time, I am also saying....
NO to foreign rule by a foreign parliament based in Brussels and Strasbourg
NO to the usurping of the UK's traditional values, customs and practices by foreign powers
NO to the UK subsidising and maintaining wasteful foreign countries and administrations
NO to the UK being inundated by hundreds of thousands of foreign workers and migrants
NO to the wilful exploitation of our Welfare System by unentitled foreign workers
NO to the inexorable undermining of our sovereign state by continental nations
NO to the reduction of our nation's diplomatic influence around the globe
NO to the restriction of our foreign trade and international treaties by the EU
NO to the unlimited interference in our nation's Social, Economic, Legal and Political life
NO to the burdensome European regulations that blight our business and commercial sectors
NO to the abandonment of UK's traditional global role and its place on international bodies
NO to the EU policy of "Ever Closer Union" and deeper European integration
NO to EU interference in the internal electoral processes of individual nation states
NO to EU's revisionist agenda regarding the history of the European continent
NO to the expansionism of the European Union project into Eastern Europe
NO to the very idea of a single integrated European Union Army
NO to EU control of our national energy markets and other vital infrastructure
NO to the widespread sell-off of our vital services to foreign firms under via TTIP