So much for the European Union referendum being a great exercise in democratic renewal which not only settles Britain’s relationship with the EU for a generation but also rekindles the electorate’s interest in public affairs.
With 30 days to go, the daily mudslinging is not only bringing the conduct of politics into disrepute but threatens to alienate those voters who are taking their duties seriously ahead of June 23 and are trying to come to a considered decision.
If all they’re going to get are the alarmist scare stories being propagated by the increasingly frenetic – some might argue desperate – Remain and Leave campaigns, they can’t be blamed if they choose not to engage in political debate in the future or, in some cases, decide not to stand for public office.
This should be an opportunity for both sides set out the advantages of disadvantages of their respective arguments before allowing voters to consider what is best for their needs and also future generations, namely those who are too young to vote next month.
Yet, rather than addressing the specific concerns of women or young families for example, the campaign is degenerating into a battle of egos exemplified by the unseemly struggle for the heart and soul of the Conservative Party now being waged between David Cameron and Boris Johnson after these two Old Etonian contemporaries fell out spectacularly.
Irrespective of the referendum’s outcome, the conduct of both will only make it harder for the Government to come together after polling day and concentrate on building a more prosperous economy for all.
As such, it won’t be Britain which is the biggest loser of all if the negative campaigning degenerates still further over the next 30 days. It will be the whole democratic process – and the country’s political elite will only have itself to blame.