Us Brits are a rather suspicious, insular lot.
You don’t avoid invasion for a thousand years without cynicism and fear of foreigners.
If truth be told, we’ve never really understood the EU and are at best rather begrudging members.
It’s EU referendum week in the UK and the debate between BREXIT and BREMAIN camps is reaching a climax.
I say debate. It’s more case of pushing entrenched opinions (whether informed or not) and not really listening to the other side.
What’s very striking is neither position is offering much hope. Only potential armageddon.
We apparently have nothing to look forward to.
On the contrary, we have to vote to avoid disaster, to prevent a slide into oblivion.
Our vote is choosing the least worst option.
It’s more a case of BREXIT NOW or BREMAIN FOR A WHILE YET.
During the Scottish Referendum it was rather different.
The Leave campaign as lead by the SNP promised the Scots a much brighter future as independent.
There was not much fear-mongering. It was a calmly presented glimpse of a sunnier, happier future of social justice and freedom.
A Scotland that could be more…Scottish in every way.
Whilst of course being unsuccessful in the independence referendum, the subsequent 2015 General Election saw the SNP sweep to victory in almost every seat.
Of 59 seats in Scotland, the SNP won 56. That’s 95%.
It was as if the Scots were saying “we weren’t ready to leave completely but we’ll do the next best thing”.
Lots of benefits without the fear of the unknown.
Loss aversion is a powerful human trait – we are disproportionately concerned with loss compared to the benefits of gain.
There’s also very little anyone can do to counter this hard-wired neural response
The financial markets tend to behave the same way.
This probably explains the campaign strategy of both sides in the EU Referendum.
However, a braver strategy for either camp might be to paint a bold new future and show its relevance to us Brits.
Loss aversion suggests that many will warm to either vision but ultimately avoid the more unknown quantity – going it alone.
Assuming we vote to remain, there’s still impetus to seek radical change from within regardless of position.
It’s better to argue in the tent than from outside it.
All will be much clearer on 24th June but chances are we’ll behave entirely predictably as a nation of humans.