Britain is heading for a knife-edge referendum result which is unlikely to close the question of membership of the European Union.
As Tribune went to press, opinion polls indicated a too-close-to-call split between those likely to vote on June 23. A surge in voting registrations among younger people over the past month could tip the balance in favour of the UK remaining in the EU but the crash of the Electoral Commission’s website within hours of the deadline for registration left unknown numbers disenfranchised and threw legal questions over the legitimacy of the process.
As turnout became the key determinate both sides in the campaign became more alarmist in their claims following months of un illuminating debate about the consequences of staying in or leaving, ranging from a flood of immigration on one hand to the threat of wide-scale marriage breakdown on the other.
The leaders of Britain’s biggest unions focused instead on a warning that Brexit would allow a Tory government to destroy employment, parenting, holiday and equality rights for workers. Unite, the GMB, Unison, Usdaw and the CWU urged their members to vote Remain saying that necessary reform of the EU with a “renewed social agenda” is possible.