The long run up to EU referendum vote

Brace yourself for 16 weeks of debate in the run-up to the referendum on June 23 when it will be decided whether the UK will remain in the Europe Union.

I welcome the debate, though like most of you am likely to become weary of the war of words which will dominate the air waves before we go to the polls.

I am, however, not convinced at the end of wall-to-wall discussions that we will be better informed, as it is clear that both sides of the argument are preparing to bombard the electorate with meaningless statistics in a bid to win our vote.

But let’s not in anyway trivialise the debate, for at the end of the day the decision as to whether we stay or leave the EU is a huge one which will have a lasting effect on our lives, and in particular the younger members of our society who will have to live with our decision.

For better or for worse I am a committed European, always have been and not likely to change my mind before the big day.

Looking back on our involvement in Europe my biggest regret has been the reluctance of the UK Governments of all political persuasions to play more of a leading role in the running of the Union, instead we have been bedevilled by the little Englander mentality which has done us no favours over the years.

It is my contention that had the UK been more pro-active in the early years of the EU we would have been more stabilised, enjoying a less regimented partnership.

My hope is should we vote to stay, there will be a change of attitude which will lead to closer working links with our partners in the EU.

I am equally concerned that the so-called leader of the yes lobby David Cameron will up his game, while avoiding silly clashes with Boris Johnson the darling of the no lobby who given enough rope will surely hang himself. Johnson has hisy eye on the job of Prime Minister, and will be using the campaign to further his own ambitions. A dangerous tactic and one that could well blow up in his face.

But personalities apart it is going to be an interesting three months with the outcome in doubt right up to polling day.

In the meantime an equally impassioned debate was going on up at Mintlaw last week when bus users from the area, including Ellon, gave Stagecoach a bloody nose over the introduction of the new fleet of sleek buses. Managers from the bus company fought a valiant rearguard action, but from what I can gather were hopelessly outgunned by irate users who refused to be fobbed off with minor adjustments to the state-of-the-art buses.