A MORI poll published yesterday indicates that many UK residents have abandoned reason as a means of making a decision in the EU referendum. They are instead planning to seek guidance from supernatural sources.
'It has become increasingly apparent since the start of the EU referendum campaign,' confirmed a spokesman for MORI, 'that most people may find it impossible to come to an informed opinion about which way to vote on 23rd June.'
'It's hopeless,' said one of those random shoppers that reporters accost in the street when they want a quote from an ordinary person. 'I'm not an expert on politics, economics or sociology, and I'm not going to become one before the vote. There are lots of people who know more than I do, but, based on the same facts, those people seem to be split into diametrically opposed camps. If clever, well informed people can't agree on what's best, how can I?'
The extent of public confusion has been dramatically illustrated by another survey - this time of London taxi drivers. Normally, members of this group are able to explain in detail how to solve any problem on the planet. In the case of the EU vote, however, all admitted they simply had no idea what to think.
Scientists suspect that this uncertainty may be because it is logically impossible to know what the outcomes of either decision might be.
Current UK press guidelines have demoted Brian Cox from being the first person consulted on any scientific matter. Tim Peake is now the official voice of the scientific world: 'From a scientific perspective,' Tim Peake told BBC News from the International Space Station, 'the outcome for Britain of any decision on the EU may well be explicable by reference to chaos theory. This means there are infinitely many variables that can lead to infinitely many outcomes - that makes it logically impossible to predict in advance what would happen after either an "in" or an "out" decision.
Many have found this analysis appealing as chaos has, for decades, been a major factor in the functioning of the EU.
The situation has led millions of voters to the conclusion that an opinion on whether Britain should remain in Europe cannot be reached by rational deduction. As a result, increasing numbers are considering supernatural approaches to inform their decisions and hence allow them to participate in the historic vote.
'The sun is in Cancer on the 23rd June,' said Professor Claire Voyant, chair of the British Astrological Society. 'Water will be the relevant element on that day, and the moon will be the major planetary influence. Mooning at Europe across the waters of the English Channel is thus indicated by the stars. This would seem to suggest an "out" vote.'
Astrology has the advantage of being applicable in advance of the vote because the locations of heavenly bodies on the 23rd June are predictable now. Most other methods of divination, however, are only effective if employed as close as possible to the moment when guidance is required.
'We have advised our members to wait until as near the instant they vote as they can to slaughter their goats and read the entrails,' said Grand Master Bloodaxe of the UK Pagan Council. 'This will produce some practical problems,' he admitted, 'as ballot regulations preclude live sacrifices within polling stations.'
'Tasseographists have an advantage in respect of last minute readings,' noted Rosemary Lee, Grand Strainer of the English Tea Leaf Diviners Association. 'Our members can simply have a nice cup of tea outside the polling station and then discreetly consult the resulting distribution of leaves prior to voting.'
In order to place the moment of divination as close as possible to the moment of voting, many people are considering predictive techniques that can be employed within polling stations.
'There are no specific regulations,' confirmed Ivor Register, a senior returning officer, 'that prevent a voter from taking a tarot deck or a copy of the I Ching into a polling booth. Polling station staff, however, would prefer on-the-spot divinations to take no more than a minute or two to avoid queues. This time limitation,' he added, 'would also preclude all but the most basic of shrines or altars being erected.'
For those individuals who are not drawn to religious rituals, pure chance can be evoked just prior to casting a vote. Tossing a coin is one simple way to do this. Specially designed, commemorative referendum coins will be minted for this purpose with "in" engraved on one side and "out" on the other.
The recent MORI poll clearly shows that most of the UK population would like to be part of this once (or possibly twice, or maybe three times - who knows?) in a generation opportunity to steer the future course of the nation. Many remain unhappy, however, about being driven to chance or supernatural means to decide on a personal position. A petition has been raised, therefore, to include a third option on the ballot paper. In addition to "in" and "out" the petition advocates an honest "haven't got a bloody clue" option.
The prospect of such an alternative position has led to a third EU campaign in addition to the Britain Stronger in Europe and the Britex campaigns. This new Haven't Got a Bloody Clue movement has already gained a widespread following - its current supporters include everyone in the UK with the exception of a few Westminster politicians.