In less than two weeks, the people of the UK will vote on the most important decision of our generation: should Britain be In or Out of the European Union?
This referendum outcome will shape our society’s direction in the coming decades. A national conversation about what kind of country we want to live in has begun to emerge.
Yet right now, this conversation too often feels like a dialogue of the deaf. The campaigns have been full of sound and fury, as politicians and true believers on each side spin ever more frantically. Insight and illumination is proving harder to come by, and many voters have turned off in frustration.
People are crying out for the facts; but a blizzard of contradictory claims is proving hard for even experts or journalists to process. Will we have to give up all the benefits of the European single market if we want to control migration from EU countries, or could we negotiate better terms outside of the Union?
Does the UK send £350 million every week to Brussels, or is a net contribution of £120m outweighed ten-to-one by the benefits of membership? Is the EU a threat to our sovereignty, or our best hope for getting a democratic grip on financial markets, climate change and the multinationals?
We at Crowdpac believe in empowering you, the voter, to weigh up all the arguments and make up your own mind. That’s why we created our #InOrOut voter tool, which has already been used by over 200,000 people. It invites you to respond to a set of simple statements, based on comprehensive research about which issues are most important to the British public in deciding how to vote.
Our team have reviewed a huge bank of data, perspectives and lines of argument – drawn not only from the campaigns’ own materials, but also from fact-checking researchers like Full Fact, as well as from independent experts and groups.
We have distilled a summary of the strongest arguments for and against each statement, so that voters can explore these and decide for themselves. We have included many of the most salient facts, while placing them in context and distinguishing them from projections and estimates.
We have stripped out distortions and spin as much as we can; and rather than taking a position ourselves on the most contested questions, we have presented the strongest case made on each side. We believe that this tool will give voters the essential information they need to form their own judgments, in particular on issues where they are currently uncertain.
Crowdpac is uniquely placed to provide this service to voters. Our co-founders Steve Hilton and Paul Hilder have diametrically opposed views on the EU, but we share a common mission to give politics back to people and build a better democracy. We have pooled our decades of experience as political insiders and outsiders from the left and the right, and gone through a rigorous process to identify the strongest arguments for both Remain and Leave.
We are open about our own political positions: Steve is a prominent spokesperson for the Leave cause, and Paul has worked with many on the Remain side, including the #VoteIn alliance launched recently.
We share the belief that this is not a black-and-white decision, that there are powerful and compelling arguments on both sides and people should be empowered to weigh them up objectively. Both campaigns have sometimes treated voters like children, seeking to scare or mislead rather than to inform and persuade.
The facts are important, and should be more widely known. But ultimately, everyone needs to make up their minds based on the arguments.
The decision to remain in the EU or leave it is a political judgment call: there is no definitive right-or-wrong answer. Our referendum voter tool foregrounds the strongest arguments on each side, giving everyone the chance to think through all the issues and decide which are most important, and providing personalised reports which summarise your position.
We want to help every potential voter make up their own mind, and to help spark informed discussions with friends and family. We want as many people as possible to vote in this referendum: it’s our democracy, and the outcome depends on us. So: decide where you stand, share the Crowdpac tool with others, and don’t forget to make your plan to vote!