So says the song by The Clash (1982)
And it seems quite prophetic that an English punk band’s song about relationships nearly a quarter of a century ago succinctly sums up the feelings about tomorrow’s referendum in the UK.
“Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?”
Tomorrow is a historic day. A once in a lifetime opportunity to have your say on the future of the United Kingdom.
So, what do you do?
The first and most important thing is to use your vote. If you don’t use it due to general apathy, the weather, protest, etc. your voice will not be heard and you really do not have the right to complain if the vote doesn’t go whichever way you would wish it to go!
There has been a lot of scaremongering, a lot of postulating and an awful of hot air and heated debates. But, the one thing that has, and is, been glaringly and obviously missing from this campaign, on both sides, is the absence of cold hard and concrete facts, backed up with evidence. (And as a maths geek I kinda like those things.)
There are, however, 3 facts that I know will be true when I wake up on June 24th, irrespective of which way the vote actually goes:
- The sun will rise in the east and set in the west;
- The earth will still be spinning on its axis;
- I will still be able to get on a plane and fly to Europe!
What the vote is, in effect, is a vote for an unknown and uncertain future.
And when you put it like that, it sounds pretty scary, right?
My dad came up with a great analogy to explain this conundrum.
“In simple terms, imagine you are working for a company that is in serious trouble – think about the recent closures of BHS/Austin Reed/Tata (I would like to point out that neither him or I are comparing the state of the EU to an almost bankrupt company).
Anyway, I digress, so you are working for a company that you know is in serious trouble. What do you do?
You have 2 choices – you stay or you go.
But with both of those choices are 2 possible outcomes, and you have no clue as to what will be the outcome.
IF I STAY IN MY JOB
- The company will go broke and I will lose my job 😦
- The company will turn itself around, start making money again and my job will be safe 🙂
IF I LEAVE MY JOB
- I will get a new job but I won’t like the company and/or my colleagues, so I will have to look for another job 😦
- I will love my new job and all will be well 🙂 “
In other words – to put it mathematically:
As you can see whatever choice you make you have a 1 in 2 chance of losing (or keeping) your job, whichever way you vote.
But tomorrow you must make that same choice!
And that’s the thing with this referendum, no one knows for certain what will happen whatever way the vote goes.
IF WE STAY successive governments can argue and negotiate to keep from adopting the Euro, Schengen and other such unified policies and win their case, OR we will be forced by the majority rule (such is the case in a democracy) and be forced into becoming a state in a United States of Europe ruled from Brussels – like it or no.
IF WE GO business may (or may not) leave these shores costing jobs, livelihoods and bringing about economic chaos OR businesses will stay and we take back our seat at the World Trade Organisation and negotiate more trade agreements on our terms (rather than having to have the agreements of 27 other countries before we can) and business and the economy booms.
But no one knows what will happen.
No one can predict the future (believe me I’d be very rich if I could!) Just like no one can predict the actual outcome from rolling a dice, or spinning the roulette wheel, you can just calculate the odds. Such is the Law of Probability.
We are lucky to live in a democracy where we have freedom of thought, freedom of speech and have been given the opportunity to make such a decision.
In the end it doesn’t matter what political party you support or what your friends and family think. You vote in accordance to what you feel is right as an independent, free-thinking human being – after all a vote, as they say, is between your conscience and the ballot box, it’s no one else’s business and certainly not worth fighting over.
All you can do is go with your gut instinct, remembering that according to the Law of Probability you have a 50/50 chance of changing history for better or for worse.
But you gotta roll the dice!