The Spectator

The leap

Plus: the agony of America's presidential election

This week the Prime Minister devoted a speech to what he regarded as six lies being told by his opponents in the EU referendum campaign. He later confessed that the idea for the speech had come to him while watching the news at 9 p.m. the previous evening. It would have been better if he had contented himself with shouting at the television, rather than adding yet more rancour to what has become a slanging match. Most voters tune into an election campaign only in its final few weeks; those who do so now will find nothing but hysteria, hyperventilation and obloquy. Where, it is often asked, are the facts? If we can distil the arguments down to the most salient points, what are they? In our cover feature, Matthew Parris and Daniel Hannan, two of the most eloquent voices on each side of the debate, offer six of their best arguments. But the Brexit debate is not a competition to see whose facts are weightier; it’s about whose arguments voters find the most persuasive. Facts can be enlisted for either side. If sterling falls, is that a bad thing? There is no right answer: pricier imports would push up shopping bills, but a softer pound would help our exporters to compete. If house prices were to fall, as the Chancellor says they would after Brexit, would that be a calamity? For those no longer climbing the property ladder, yes. But people priced out of the housing market are praying for a crash. EU 2 midline In most referendums, the status quo usually wins. But this one is so hard to predict because the status quo is not on the ballot paper. Our choice is to stay in an ever-changing EU, or to sever ties with it and see where we end up. No one can predict with certainty what either option would bring.

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