Official versus individual: Machinery weighs in on the EU referendum

2 min read

It’s that month. On 23 June, the country will vote to either remain in or leave the EU.

The government, opposition, unions, most if not all key UK business organisations and all major international bodies that have expressed an opinion believe the UK should remain in the EU. This is not to say that all individuals within these bodies agree, of course. Clearly they do not, as the mainstream media makes all too clear on a daily basis.

If only we had straight facts, people say. Well, facts are a little more flexible than you might imagine, while conjecture from them opens up a whole new realm that spans fantasy to truth. I am sure that many individuals will be able to read both ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ arguments and nod their heads in agreement. It’s an ‘on balance’ decision for most, as is a general election for many; except that in five years’ time there’ll be no chance to reverse this decision, as is the case when electing a national government.

That said, while a ‘leave’ vote seemingly offers no possibility of a return to the EU fold, Machinery fully expects that a ‘remain’ vote will see a continuing campaign from ‘outers’. The genie is out of the bottle, Pandora has opened the box and what has been said cannot be unsaid.

But this is not helping you make a decision, admittedly. So does Machinery have a view? More importantly, do we have some secret insight that will make everything crystal clear? Yes and, unfortunately, no.

On balance, we go with the majority official view of business and international organisations, because we are a magazine that writes for companies that operate within the business and trading worlds. We cannot claim to know more than these many august bodies that have undertaken much research; we are in no position to gainsay them in that regard. Of course, we acknowledge that there are ‘out’ groups challenging their various arguments.

Earlier this year (www.machinery.co.uk/111516) and drawing on our sector, we published an article based on a roundtable discussion involving Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) members, with this event having a ‘remain’ outcome. Indeed, the MTA’s official position is to stay in the EU, as called for by its president at the organisation’s annual dinner in January. This did not, however, draw rousing applause from the audience.

And that reaction probably best sums it all up: an almost unified view from just about every major organisation to remain in the EU versus split individual opinion that takes its cue from multiple information sources on a variety of vertical issues, as well as from personal experience and peer group pressure.

This article was published in the June issue of Machinery magazine.