It’s arguably the biggest decision you will make this lifetime- should Britain remain in the EU or go it alone.
If you’re anything like me, with just under a week to go you will be thoroughly confused given the shameless point scoring and confusing statements made from both sides of the camp so far.
In one corner you have the 'Remain' campaign lead by the Prime Minister and Chancellor urging (or should that be scaremongering?) us to stick with the EU, or face uncertain times ahead. Peppering the word ‘recession’ into their carefully planned speeches and impassioned pleas have certainly taken effect from what I can see.
We have suffered five years of austerity and cuts in a bid to cut the deficit and now we’re faced with the possibility of being plunged into chaos once more? It’s enough to make anyone panic and not actually consider what issues will affect them day-to-day.
There are faceless, unelected members of the EU making decisions on our behalf daily and yet prior to this referendum went largely unnoticed or challenged. Of course, now we are in the midst of this debate it doesn’t help that both sides keep playing down/exaggerating exactly how much of British law is decided in Brussels.
‘Remain’ peg it at 7% whilst ‘Leave’ calculates it is 75%, so who do we believe with such a monumental discrepancy between their figures? Herein lies the problem.
Amongst the ‘emergency budget’ threats, there is a stark truth about the uncertainty we face on June 24th should we opt to leave. How can we continue as normal when there would be a monumental amount to renegotiate when it came to trade deals, immigration and the like?
Even looking closer to home, would the uncertainty prevent people from getting on the housing ladders and in turn would banks become overly cautious and restrict lending? The repercussions felt through Europe would undoubtedly unsettle the market, which team ‘Remain’ continues to use as its core argument.
No one likes change, but change, which we can’t predict or foresee, is even scarier. Are we ready to stand alone and take the bad with the good? It’s this argument, which powers the other side of the debate.
In the 'Leave' camp you have Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson leading the charge. Whilst, Michael Gove, so loathed for his stint as Education Secretary, has become something of a secret weapon in the debating stakes. His recent Question Time appearance went down very well with the audience, despite some very sticky moments.
This trio maintain that Britain is stronger alone- that we are a great British Empire, capable of leading our own destiny and taking back control from Europe, which will strike a chord with many and their Patriotism. ‘Leave’ paint a picture of more funding for the NHS, trade deals with China and controlled immigration- issues people feel very passionate about.
Where they come unstuck in their argument is answering the million-dollar question; what will be the consequences if we leave? They continuously dodge this question, either because they don’t know the answer or because they know there are risks, but don’t want to publicly admit that in case it derails the whole campaign.
They have been very successful in brandishing the disputed huge sums of money we send to the EU each week.
On some levels it’s very hard to argue with this, which is what the 'Leave' campaign is using to its advantage- they believe this money would be better put to use funding Britain. It is undeniably a huge amount when you examine our underfunded National Health Service and transport networks and that’s before we look into the shortage of housing and school places, which leads their argument neatly onto the hotly debated topic of immigration.
‘Leave’ consider the current system in place as “expensive and out of date” with an open door policy causing a strain on our services. What they propose is controlling this immigration more closely and opening up our borders to non-EU members who could be more valuable to our economy.
They have tried to quell the panic and fear from current EU migrants settled here with a ‘no mass deportation’ rhetoric, which from where I am sat (in an office full of all nationalities) does little to soothe their concerns.
In truth, both make compelling arguments, but sorting through what is actually fabrication and fact does wear thin day in day out. Whichever way you choose to vote on June 23rd, make it for the reasons that will have an impact for you. Voting with your head is a given, voting with your heart is altogether a different matter.
Scroll through our gallery above to watch the key debates so far and let us know how you feel about the impending decision.