There are many good reasons for leaving the EU. There, I said it. Yes me, a card-carrying member of Stronger In, Conservatives In, Environmentalists for Europe, Countryside In and, if it existed, Newbury Pigeon Fanciers for In. I just think that the case for leaving is far outweighed by the case for remaining. But I am just one vote. With just three weeks to go I have come to a realisation. Our media and the London-centric chatterati do not share the same view on this as people outside the M25. Most people in the real world are not actually interested in what Boris may have said to Dave or what Nigel thinks of Michael, or whether Jeremy will share a platform with Dave or who made Boris' bus (yes, this is apparently an issue). Most of the electorate are having a serious think about this on their own or with their families, colleagues and friends.
Hustings in town and village halls are the warp and weave of politics for people like me and I like the opportunity to have a verbal tussle with political opponents. But as in elections there is a tendency to find that the majority of those coming to such events are doing so in support of one side or the other. Their minds are made up and they just see hustings in the same context as street theatre. But for the genuinely undecided, hustings often generate more heat than light. So I have decided to do something different.
I am having a series of conversations in the constituency. The first is on Friday 3rd June at the Burdwood Centre, Thatcham (starting at 6.30pm). The second is on Friday 10th June at Newbury Rugby Club (starting at 7pm). The object is not for me, or others attending, to harangue an audience but to calmly make the case why I believe Britain's future is better in the EU, and to take questions. I hope the "leave" campaign will do the same so that the genuinely undecided can have a similar conversation there. Of course there’s nothing wrong with a good argument, it is an indicator of vibrant democracy. But I hope this recognises that for many this is a difficult decision with huge implications and they deserve to be taken seriously.