Brexit: What would David Hume do?

David Hume

What would David Hume say on the subject of whether the UK should remain part of the EU?

Well, we’ll never know — but the great Scottish philosopher and empiricist would doubtless be satisfied that the institute that carries his name is attempting to bring some sober analysis to this divisive and (some would say, needless) referendum.

The Edinburgh-based David Hume Institute has teamed up with The Hunter Foundation and the Centre on Constitutional Change to produce a free ebook to answer voters’ questions before the EU referendum on June 23.

Britain’s Decision – Facts and Impartial Analysis, involves scholars in European affairs from leading universities.

The scholars have identified 19 key questions that underpin the debate and they offer objective, independent analysis.

The book is edited by Ray Perman, Director of the David Hume Institute and Charlie Jeffery, Professor of Politics at the University of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Centre on Constitutional Change.

The book also has chapters from professors Michael Keating, Laura Cram, David Bell, Nicola McEwen and Aileen McHarg, among others.

It also has a contribution from Andrew Wilson & Kevin Pringle, making the case to remain — and from Brian Monteith, putting the case for Brexit.

Tom Hunter, chairman of the Hunter Foundation, said: “This decision is far too important to be left to the politicians alone to inform us.

“For the voter it’s almost — at least it is for me — impossible to determine the facts and fallacies from both the Remain and Leave camps in order to understand the issues at hand.

“That’s why, with the David Hume Institute and the Centre on Constitutional Change, we commissioned impartial, factual analysis around the key questions facing voters in making their own minds up on the EU vote.”

Former journalist Perman said the book is intended as a guide to the issues.

“We can’t, alas, provide an easy check list — a series of boxes to tick which by the end of the book would enable readers to add up a score which would tell them which way to vote,” said Perman.

“What we hope to do is provide a reference, so that when a claim is made you can go to the appropriate chapter to learn something of the background and the underlying facts — if they can be simply stated.

“Sometimes the author will be able to give an impartial expert opinion.”

Prof Charlie Jeffery said: “When we issued a similar book for the Scottish referendum in 2014, Scotland’s Decision, we found an enormous public appetite for neutral, academic assessment of the key issues in that campaign.

“In some ways, this book is the sequel.

“As the whole of the UK confronts a decision with political, economic and legal implications for this and future generations, we’ve asked some of the country’s foremost experts to cut through the political hyperbole and set out, as far as possible, what that decision could mean.”

Read the free book here: