From the business desk: Government's EU leaflet does not inform debate

I am of the opinion that the Government's propaganda pamphlet on the EU referendum is a complete waste of time and money.

Friday, 15th April 2016, 10:55 am
Updated Friday, 15th April 2016, 10:58 am
W26309H13OliPoole Business Picture. Worthing Herald Business Reporter, Oli Poole. ENGSUS00120130620162259

Sent to every household in the country, at a reported cost of £9million, the Government sets out its belief that voting to remain in the EU is the ‘best decision’ for the UK.

I have always been against the referendum. The issue is incredibly complex and I feared the majority would not be suitably well-informed to make the crucial decision.

Part of the problem, as I saw it, was the likely scare stories of both sides and the difficulty of sifting the truth from the misleading.

So imagine my dismay when the Government’s taxpayer-funded leaflet dropped through my letterbox.

Downing Street told the BBC that 85 per cent of people wanted more information to help them make an informed choice.

But this one-sided, biased account, with little more than fleeting mention of the opposing side’s stance, cannot possibly achieve this.

I currently plan to abstain on June 23. This leaflet should target people like me. Unfortunately for the Government, it hasn’t come close to convincing me to leave the comfort of the fence.

I come back to my earlier point – the need for trustworthy information. Had this been a balanced booklet, setting out the stalls of ‘remain’ and ‘leave’, it may have held some weight.

Its failure to do so leaves me as sceptical of it as the continued battles of both sides already in the public domain.

Instead, the majority of the document reads like a scare story. “It’s a big decision. One that will affect you, your family and your children for decades to come,” it gloomily warns.

Well, why not present us with the arguments of both sides of the cabinet, so we can be satisfied that decision is the correct one? I am sure I am not alone in expressing cynicism over the reliability of the arguments – which makes me doubt whether this was the best use of public funds.