As those who follow me on Twitter will know I went to a Brexit debate in Ely Cathedral last night, organised by its Business Group.
There was much to criticise about the event. Six white, late middle aged men debated. There was not a woman in sight on the platform.
Nor was there political diversity: all who spoke were right wing. When Tory MP George Freeman was the left winger you know there is something wrong.
But the event attracted over 200 people, mainly older people but with a smattering of sixth formers. I did, almost inevitably, get to my feet, choosing to concentrate to the EU’s contribution on employment rights – something the panel had conveniently ignored and which I suggested it was the Cathedral’s duty to promote.
More interesting though was the reaction of the audience to the UKIP agenda presented by two (at least) of the panelists, one of them UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew. The commentary was offensive, xenophobic and hectoring.
At the start of the event a poll was taken via mobile phones on whether people were in, out or undecided. It was roughly 50% in and 25% for the other two camps. At the end it was at least 70% in with the remainder split roughly 20:10. I think the number voting increased slightly.
You can almost see why Labour is currently absent from this debate. UKIP can do the job they need for them of persuading people to vote in. Certainly last night they did their very best to alienate the audience with their irrational diatribes, and succeeded.