My own view is that the Remain campaign will win, and by more than the narrowest of margins. I don't say that for the usual reasons - free movement, jobs, trade, etc, etc - but for another one that struck me when I heard something Nigel Farage, the UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) leader said a few days ago. Until now Mr Farage has liked to present himself as the politician most in tune with the ordinary man and woman, the one who knows how they feel on most issues (well, immigration anyway) in a way that neither aloof Tories nor campus-based Labour ideologues ever could. To a degree he seemed to have pulled it off, but then he went and said something that showed that on one issue he is totally out of touch with his target market. Commenting on predictions that the pound (as in £) would suffer a large decline in value in the wake of an exit vote, he was unconcerned. So what if the pound declines, he shrugged, it will help our exports.
Oh dear, Nigel, in one sentence you showed that you are not so in touch after all. Don't you realise this is June? And what are a large number of ordinary men and women doing in June? Getting ready for their summer holidays, that's what. More to the point, the millions planning to go abroad are thinking about currency. Apparently they are not supposed to be bothered about having to spend up to 30% more for everything in Benidorm, Majorca, Rhodes et al. The economic and other arguments for leaving and remaining are finely balanced in many people's minds, a series of trade-offs involving sovereignty, trade, control of immigration and so on. Yet all of these are things that will not be experienced either way until some time in the future. This year's holidays are imminent. If you're not sure which way to jump, surely jumping the way that could cost a family £500 or more right now becomes less attractive. People will be looking at this month's bank balance, not imagining one in five or ten years' time.
I don't know if David Cameron chose June for the referendum because he had worked out it was just before the summer holidays and he could point to the prospect of an immediate and probably sharp decline in the pound if the 'leave' side won. Probably not, but what a wealth of opportunities for conspiracy theorists this referendum has thrown up! If they lose, the more zany groups on the Brexit side will almost certainly be picking over the loss for evidence that they'd been robbed. I fear that even the death of Jo Cox, a Remain martyr at just the 'right' time, will be seen as part of the conspiracy, if not now then before very long.
So back to my prediction for next Thursday. I think that, given the number of don't knows, the Remain camp might just have scraped a win in the spirit of 'better the devil you know'. People may also have pause for thought about their jobs here and now rather than the ones promised at some time in the future after Britain is 'set free'. But what will really push the Remain camp to a clear victory are those currency exchange rate lists, be they online, at banks or at travel agents, because they are what millions are looking at right now while they work out just how much it costs to take a family to a theme park.