Head or heart?

love-551257_1920A constant refrain in the EU referendum debate from potential voters has been that they feel ill-informed.

Without wishing to sound rude, I think they might be right.

And this lack of knowledge is not going to be fixed by a glossy leaflet or even a couple of feature-length articles in a newspaper (even assuming that we can trust what is in the papers!).

As David Mitchell suggests, this referendum IS a complicated issue.

I have had the luxury of being able to devote a lot of time to getting up to spin and even that was building on the knowledge I had gained to write my textbook on the EU 20 years ago. So if I have found it a challenge, I am not surprised that people with less free time and less of a background feel ill-informed.

Then I had a thought. Perhaps the EU question is covered in school? The only appropriate place apart from history, Government & Politics, Economics or  Sociology A-levels would be PSHE at the lower levels. But taking a look at the guidelines for PHSE, I can see that it is a crowded curriculum where other topics probably have a greater priority. I started looking at EU lesson plans such as this one and discovered a couple of 60 minute sessions which ended up with ‘If you were the PM, would you recommend that we stay or leave?’ type of questions which could hardly be answered robustly in the time available.

So if this is truly the most important vote in 50 years for the UK electorate then I would say they have been very inadequately prepared and it is expecting too much for people to become informed enough in the space of a couple of months so that they can vote with confidence.

Voting is always more a matter of gut than logic so in that sense this may not matter.

But whatever the outcome, if this question really is so important then I would suggest finding a proper place for it in the curriculum as soon as possible.

I would suggest that Parliament has more say in what Ministers decide at EU meetings and I would suggest that the media make a better job of reporting from the EU.


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