Are the British Europeans

The British pound is already on the downside, bankers in the City of London are unsettled, and international organizations are sounding the alarm. From US President Barack Obama to Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU): The fear of Brexit has gripped those in power. The world is wondering: what's wrong with the British?

Stay in or step out? June 23rd is fateful day for Great Britain, for Europe and for British Prime Minister David Cameron. The election campaign has long since ceased to be about reason and rational arguments, diffuse fears and targeted scare tactics. Whether EU fans or Brexit spokesmen: the closer the day of the referendum approaches, the more the actors resort to empty speech bubbles, high-pitched accusations and wild speculations.

An example: The standard gesture of the right-wing populist exit spokesman Nigel Farage, which he leaves out on hardly any appearance. The head of the right-wing populist Ukip party pulls a British passport out of his pocket - a red EU passport as one has today. “It's not a British passport,” sneers “Mr. Brexit ". “This is an EU passport.” He is fighting for the British to get a British passport again.

It's about national feelings. Nostalgia and memories of the great days of the British Empire resonate in the debate. There is one more thing that those in favor of leaving, such as London's ex-Mayor Boris Johnson and Farage, know how to skillfully exploit: the deep-seated fears of German domination in Europe. There is hardly a speech in which Farage does not hit Merkel. The question is: does so much polemics get caught up in the electorate?

But Cameron and the EU supporters are also shooting hard and stirring up fears. Ever more brazenly, the prime minister conjures up horror scenarios that will allegedly inevitably break in on the British with a Brexit: price increases, export problems, recession.

Tenor: An exit would be a disaster for the wallet of the average Briton. Cameron is using ever thicker clubs, recently he even painted the horrific vision on the wall, with a Brexit threat of pension cuts. So much fear-mongering could provoke unpleasant reactions of defiance among voters, according to the motto: Now we are all the more voting for the exit.

There is a lot of excitement in the City of London. There is hardly a major bank that does not fear severe turbulence in the event of Brexit. The pound is falling, banks are finding it difficult to access Europe, and Frankfurt is overtaking London. There is hardly a major bank that is not already working on a "Plan B".

"The British see the EU very differently from the continental Europeans," said a Western diplomat recently. The British political scientist Iain Bregg explains it like this: While for the French, Dutch and Germans European integration was always about "peace work" after the shock of the World War, the British see the community quite prosaically as a free trade area. No coincidence: when Cameron speaks of the EU, he always speaks of the “common market” or the “single market”. High-flying plans for more unity, more integration in Europe? Nothing for him.

The voters are perplexed and unsettled by the cascades of words used by politicians. “Is it really right that an exit inevitably leads to economic catastrophe?” Says a young woman in the workers' and migrant district of Walthamstow, who actually wants to vote for staying in it. Who wants to judge that?

“Does leaving really solve all problems?” Asks a British pensioner who, when asked what he is going to choose, throws his arms in the air helplessly. “I don't know yet.” Are the bureaucrats in Brussels really as bad as the exit camp claims? Are they really threatening the sovereignty of the kingdom?

The crux of the matter: opinion polls don't really help either. It is true that some surveys have recently identified a trend towards Brexit. But many voters are still undecided. The renowned London School of Economics warns that up to 30 percent of voters could change their minds in the week before the vote.

Experts are familiar with the syndrome: in the case of independence votes, voters sometimes get afraid of their own courage shortly before entering the voting booth - and then tick “stay in”. (dpa)