Emotion rather than logic could hold sway in Brexit debate

It is a case of logic and prudence versus passion and emotion.

Logic would dictate that remaining in the European Union, flawed as it is, with its free markets and endless trade opportunities is a safer bet than plunging yourself into self-imposed isolation.

But logic added to a seemingly endless string of celebrity endorsements from the likes of David Beckham, Arsene Wenger, Helena Bonham Carter, Bob Geldof, Alan Sugar, and Simon Cowell has failed to capture the imagination of a deeply sceptical British public.

Fed on a diet of Eurosceptic and Europhobic media coverage for more than 25 years, the stock of the EU in Britain is at a low ebb.

Tied to this is the fact that all of the emotion is on the side of the Leave campaign.

It is a very compelling argument to talk about Britain reasserting its independence, standing tall on its own and freeing itself from the meddling, overpaid, faceless bureaucrats in Brussels.

The exceptionally tight margin, as revealed in the overly relied upon opinion polls, reflects on how disillusioned the British public have become with the political establishment in general.

This follows on from the Iraq War, in which many Britons feel they were lied to by Tony Blair as to the reasons for going to war, and from the damning Westminster expenses scandal, which showed the political class to be coining it on the public purse.

Added into that mix, has been a poisonous stream of rhetoric from the likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage about the impact of immigration on British life.

This bile has preyed on fears among many Britons about their country being overrun by Eastern Europeans and Muslims from the old Empire.

The murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox last week has reinforced the fears of many about extremists on both sides of the divide.

From an Irish perspective, there is such unanimity about wanting Britain to remain in the EU that a vote to leave could have disastrous consequences for us.

While Ireland will of course survive either way, the prospect of a hard border being imposed between here and the North is of course one we want to avoid.

It is not overstating it that such a move could have disastrous consequences for the Peace Process which has been so frustratingly long in the making.

Despite the logical argument being the one to remain, it is clear the emotional case has held its own up until the finishing line.

Yes, there is a lot to despise about Europe. Just look at how we were treated in 2010.

But, whatever happens when the British go to the polls today, the impact on us will be significant.

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