Analysis: Prepare for politicians to try and scare you for the next 20 weeks

David Cameron has said he hopes the EU referendum campaign will begin soon
David Cameron has said he hopes the EU referendum campaign will begin soon
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DAVID Cameron hasn’t quite fired the starting gun on the referendum campaign but the publication of the draft deal means it is underway in all but name.

And at this very early stage it is already easy to see what kind of campaign it is going to be.

Those who like the politics of hope and optimism might want to consider booking a holiday well away from the European Union lasting the next 20 weeks or so.

Because for all the Prime Minister’s promise to speak with “passion” about Britain’s EU membership offering the “best of both worlds” the signs are that both the ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ campaigns are going to spend a lot of time and effort trying to scare you.

Fear of the unknown will be the crux of the referendum campaign with voters asked to decide what they fear most.

The leave campaign will suggest you should fear a future where Britain is not in control of its own borders, where laws are decided overseas and where we do not have the freedom to trade with the growing economic powers of the world.

The remain campaign will argue you should fear a future outside the trading bloc where we do most of our business, that severing our links with the EU would leave us alone to deal with migration, terror and the other major challenges facing the world.

And both campaigns will accuse each other of negative campaigning.

It would be nice to hear the leave campaign offering a vision of a prosperous UK free from the shackles of the rules of a club of which this country has always been a reluctant member.

And it would be refreshing to hear the remain campaign offer its full-throated support for the EU and remind British voters of what we have in common with our European neighbours.

But that is not going to happen.

Be afraid, be very afraid, both campaigns will tell you.

And once you’ve decided what you’re most afraid of, they will invite you to vote for the opposite outcome.