The first time I heard someone say that they were already sick of the EU Referendum was over five weeks ago in a column that they wrote for the student paper. Only days before the election, I can officially say that I have reached this point.
Now, I made up my mind a few weeks ago which way I will vote. If, between now and Thursday I hear a radical new argument which drastically changes my perspective, I am open to being swayed. But the likelihood of that happening is slim; not only because we only have a few days left, but because the range of arguments on either side of the debate is not expanding, but being whittled down to the most rudimentary, simplistic and desperate attempt to convince people. It is poor political and journalistic form all-round.
As time runs out before people put pen to paper in the ballot box, both Vote Leave and Stronger In have resorted to bringing the tackiest of political tactics on to the streets of Britain: stereotyping and belittling their opposition.
While this is a near-inevitable part of politics which has occasionally enabled people to build entire careers off of creating a verbal caricature of their opponent in the Houses of Parliament, it’s a dangerous, irresponsible and divisive tactic in the lives of citizens – as if we needed more of those.
Between the tabloid press cherry-picking the angriest looking student or most indie-looking multimillionaire to front their depiction of Remain campaigners, places like the Guardian have resorted to stereotyping and humiliating the working class in their recent videos, featuring your average pot-bellied taxi driver spewing nonsense about immigration.
Quite pointedly, I saw this particular video only minutes after reading an article on the Independent’s website calling both campaigns out on this exact problem. The writer criticised the Remain campaign for purposefully distancing itself from the British working class. But due to scare tactics by both Remain and Leave, this is not just an issue within the campaign, but an issue between British people.
Don’t be tricked into thinking that a ‘certain type’ of person is going to vote a ‘certain way’. For every Dave the Van Man who “wants his country back”, there is a keyboard warrior who will vote Remain on the 23rd of June based on their Facebook feed alone. Oh, and perhaps the promise that EasyJet won’t up their prices for their upcoming ‘cultural tour’ of Amsterdam.
This post is not about which way I’m going to be voting, so I’m not going to say. But what I do want is to remind people that whittling down your opposition to an embarrassing caricature is only a useful tactic if your plan is to distract others from the crux of the issue: regardless of who wins, we’re looking at big changes.