Matthew Charlton is the CEO of Brothers and Sisters. He was a founder of BETC London, has run agencies in London, Amsterdam and the US and has worked on brands including Johnnie Walker, PlayStation and Sony Ericsson.
Brexit – the final frontier: Matthew Charlton on the campaign to leave the EU
I was initially very interested in the opportunities a Brexit vote could offer. I believe deeply in the untapped potential of this country and if we could potentially achieve more out of Europe than locked in. I was looking forward to reading and hearing the ideas and vision of what those who want us to leave would put forward. I was genuinely up for taking a risk if I could see a coherent and exciting plan for this country outside the EU. A new manifesto. After all Europe is not a resounding success.
Instead, if you ignore all the jumping around, the vote is now just a straight choice between something which is known – albeit flawed – called the EU, and a total an utter unknown called Brexit, or in reality a giant black hole full of air. It's not about Europe or Britain anymore. It's simply a vote between something we know and can judge sensibly and a complete and utter punt in the dark. It is in fact for anyone with half a brain a complete and utter joke. If the UK is to vote to leave the EU then it would be swapping it for a long trip to outer space. And if I had the choice between the EU and outer space I'll choose the EU thanks.
Those who have backed Brexit have completely failed so far and let many of the good people of this country down completely. They have failed to produce any kind of plan. It's not just a vote about immigration; to many it's much much bigger and potentially more exciting than that. But there has been no case made at all. Instead it is just about immigration. Which of course is a real and important debate. But it's not about opportunity, it's about protectionism. Changing the rules on immigration won't really bring happiness or prosperity to most in this country. The big question of whether Brexit could bring more happiness and prosperity to this country than the EU membership remains not just unanswered but undebated.
I have spoken recently to a few CEOs of FTSE 100 companies and this vote has paralysed many of their plans and wobbled confidence. And all this destabilisation and economic uncertainty for this pathetic "arguing at the bar of the golf club" debate?
For me it's been the biggest disappointment of a process I can remember. The sooner we show Brexit the exit, leave this type of debate at the bar where it belongs and get on with being a serious grown up country the better. If anyone really wants a trip to outer space I suggest you book a seat on Richard Branson's space ship.
Follow Matthew on Twitter @MJCharltonesq
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