econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 23 May 2016

Swamped By Facts, Voters Are Still Going Into The EU Referendum With An Information Deficit

from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Andrew Glencross, University of Stirling

The campaign for the forthcoming referendum on whether the UK should remain in the EU is now in full swing. Alongside the furious fact-slinging, voters have already witnessed moments of personal invective, with partisans on both sides considering that the end justifies the means.

But the best, often rarer feature, of referendums is the ability to expand public knowledge and bring new groups or issues into the public sphere. There were great hopes that politics could benefit from putting Europe into the heart of the national conversation. Even London's former mayor Boris Johnson, speaking in 2014, argued that a referendum would allow Britons to focus not on "the feud - so toxic, so delicious, so gloriously fratricidal - but on what is actually right for the country."

Studies show that British citizens are among the least informed in Europe about how the EU works. This information deficit reflects the complexity of Brussels policy-making as well as the tendentious way many Eurosceptic media outlets report the EU.

The referendum campaign itself has hardly captured the imagination - one poll showed that 29% of Britons don't even know which side UKIP leader Nigel Farage is on.

A defining feature of this referendum is the near-daily skirmishes over which side's estimates about jobs or growth are accurate. In March, the bone of contention was the Treasury's report on Brexit, which as commentators pointed out used a figure of costs per household not per capita, making for a bigger and scarier figure.

It's a similar story this month with immigration, as shown by the furore over EU migration figures that the Office of National Statistics was accused of hiding by focusing on those staying for more than 12 months.

Personality politics

Yet one lesson from the initial period of campaigning is that the dominant focus rests on personalities and public spats, typified by the outbursts of Johnson.

One of the big beasts. Nigel Roddis/EPA

In reality, it was probably naive to think that the campaign could avoid becoming personal. The cabinet was always likely to be split: it was merely a question of who and how many would rebel against the prime minister's renegotiation. By taking personal charge of the negotiations with the EU, David Cameron became the lightning rod for eurosceptic dissatisfaction.

There is also an inevitable contradiction between Cameron's flirtation with hard euroscepticism prior to renegotiation and his transformation into a passionate EU supporter following the deal reached in February 2016. The anti-Cameron momentum within the Brexit camp is further fuelled by the ambivalence of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Unlike the 1975 referendum on remaining in the European Economic Community, today it is not the case that both main parties have leaders equally committed to remaining.

The net result is that the debate being played out before British voters is what comedian Stewart Lee describes as a "cynical battle of big beasts, not beliefs".

Avoiding the deluge

There is a very real danger that the referendum is not enhancing citizens' understanding of the costs and constraints of EU membership. This is not just because of the ideologically biased interpretations doing the rounds. There is also a lazy, elite attitude of disdaining opposition to the EU, as if criticisms of it are only the product of wilful ignorance. Symptomatic of this attitude is the resort to expressions such as "wanting an outward-facing Britain" by the remain camp, implying they have a monopoly on defining internationalism.

In the final weeks of the campaign, politicians will no doubt ratchet up the rhetoric, lapped up by the media to help fuel their narrative of personal rivalry and party splits. So it is essential that there be a counterbalance - a shift in the debate from a deluge of facts and forecasts to one that picks apart the guiding principles of European integration.

In addition to the ESRC's UK in a Changing Europe project - which is funding a free, massive open online course on the referendum that I am part of to make sense of the issues surrounding this crucial vote - there are a number of websites and news organisations providing superb fact-checking resources, including The Conversation.

But countering misinformation only goes so far. If this referendum is to have a positive legacy, campaigners on both sides need to help voters understand the linkages and trade-offs inherent in allowing the UK to trade globally or regulate migration. Whether inside or outside the EU, all voters can benefit from knowing more about how international politics works in the 21st century.

The ConversationAndrew Glencross, Lecturer in Politics, University of Stirling

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.



You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.





Econintersect Contributors


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
Minsky’s Theory of Asset Prices: Why Minsky Was NOT a Neo-Monetarist
The BuildZoom And Urban Economics Lab Index: Third Quarter 2016
News Blog
What We Read Today 19 January 2017
OK Go - The One Moment - Official Video
January 2017 Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey Significantly Improves and Remains In Expansion.
December 2016 Residential Building Sector Mixed
14 January 2017 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Improvement Continues
Stock Market Bull Faces Important Test
Infographic Of The Day: Movies That Struck Oil
Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Dollar Steady, Oil Up, Top US Poll Priority Is Health Care, Tough Questions For Tom Price, Russia Has Buyer's Remorse, Mexico Fears Trump And More
Documentary Of The Week: Value And Thermodynamics
Can Serena Make It 23
Number Of Bitcoin ATMs By Country
How Old Is Our Moon?
Advantages And Disadvantages Of The EU According To Business Leaders
Investing Blog
Technical Nuggets: Is There A Trump-Air Pocket Ahead?
Technical Thoughts: Three Trading Ideas
Opinion Blog
A New Deal With Capitalism Requires A Revolution In Politics And Markets
A Letter To Warren Buffett And Charlie Munger About Hiring Proven Whistleblowers
Precious Metals Blog
Four Catalysts Drive Gold And Silver For 2017
Live Markets
19Jan2017 Market Close: Wall Street Closes Down Fractionally On Lackluster Investor Participation Ahead Of Tomorrow's Presidential Inauguration, George Soros Said That Global Markets Will Falter
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government





























 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2017 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved