Astonishingly, the basic issue in the EU debate has barely been argued by either side. It isn’t the economy or trade, nor immigration or public services or our payments to Brussels.
It’s much bigger and simpler: yes or no, do we want an independent Britain, managed by a British government, parliament and courts, or one whose big decisions are taken largely by foreigners. Our EU friends are splendid people, but do we want them running us?
The Leave side cannot lose on this issue. Yet they spend most of their time on their opponents’ chosen ground, the economy, where they cannot win: the Stayers’ statistics may be dubious, but the Brexiteers can’t even offer anything but guesses.
I think Brexit may indeed set back our economy, for a time. But independence is worth paying for. We’ve fought for it, and paid for it, from the Spanish Armada to Hitler. We could often have opted for a semi-independent, dishonourable, prosperous peace. We didn’t.
The EU is nothing like them. But it simply isn’t us. And within 50 years a “stay” vote on June 23rd may well mean a Britain that is merely a province of the United States of Europe. Is that what we want?