In the second of a series looking at the views of people from outside of the political bubble, on the EU referendum, Lucy Ashton gets the perspective from a local café.
In a Barnsley café, three woman are chatting about the EU referendum over a pot of Yorkshire Tea.
Brussels may seem a world away from this backstreet café but the referendum is definitely a pressing issue for Jane, Donne and Chloe, three colleagues at a respected, successful South Yorkshire company.
Jane, a company director, says she wants to know all the implications as an individual, as an employer and as a member of the business community.
“The EU touches on every single aspect of life, so much of our legislation is created by Europe,” she says, sipping her tea.
“If you look at the Working Time Directive – what would be the consequences if we left the EU? Would that piece of legislation continue? Would the Government have to start afresh and make it a new British law? Would the cost of implementing any new legislation be colossal?
“Britain pays £35 million into the EU daily, which I know some people are unhappy about, but Barnsley and South Yorkshire has also received a huge amount of European funding for regeneration.
“I have a lot of questions but don’t feel they are being answered. My worry is the issues are so complex, they will wash over everyone and people will vote for Boris Johnson because they like his hair or some other daft reason.”
Chloe, who is 19, voted for the first time in the 2015 General Election and is looking forward to voting again but is undecided.
“It seemed much easier to decide with the General Election as there were very definite political parties with manifestos and if you wanted to, you could speak to candidates directly,” she says, nibbling on a Yorkshire ham sandwich.
“With the referendum, I honestly don’t know which way to vote as no one has explained the consequences if we leave. There doesn’t seem to be any straight forward information, no one has drawn up a list of what will happen if we stay or go.”
Donna nods. “Every time you make a major decision in life you can read the details, take advice and weigh up the pros and cons yet with something as serious as the referendum, there doesn’t seem to be any information at all.
“There are huge consequences yet the issue has been really badly communicated and there are so many unanswered questions.
“Along with the impact on Britain, what would happen to other countries if we pulled out? Would Greece collapse completely? Would Germany become a super power? Should we have a responsibility to other countries?”
As they order another round of tea, Jane sums up the general feeling. “It’s frightening to think in four months’ time everyone will have to make a momentous decision that will affect not just Britain, but the whole of Europe.”
Lucy Ashton is a journalist and former Political Editor