Image: Willy Stöwer, 1912 Image: Willy Stöwer, 1912

The future of Great Britain, of our economy, of our businesses, of our jobs, of our pensions, of our finances, rests on the shoulders of uninformed voters influenced by the rhetoric of buffoons.

A week ago several polls put the ‘Leave’ campaign a few points ahead of the ‘Remain’ campaign, giving a real indication that a Brexit could actually happen.

IF that does happen, we could almost make my peace with it if ‘Leave’ won with a considered, reasonable, thoughtful majority behind it. But that won’t be the case.

Leave voters may have the best of intentions – to ‘make Britain Great again’ as Boris has frequently bellowed, shaking his fist. But good intentions don’t always turn out well. In fact, in many cases, they turn out to be utterly monumentally idiotic ideas.

Brexit would be a Titantic decision

104 years ago, the Titantic set off for New York on its maiden voyage. Lauded as an engineering feat of great magnitude, the “unsinkable” ship sunk.

Irish shipbuilder William Perrie labelled it unsinkable because four of the Titantic’s ‘watertight’ 16 compartments could be flooded without a critical loss of buoyancy. Fantastic idea. Great intentions. But it failed miserably. Five compartments were ruptured by that iceberg, and we all know what happened after that.

It fell back almost vertically and snapped in two – probably what would happen to the UK economy in the event of a Brexit. But the world's fifth largest economy cannot sink can it?

Napoleon’s downfall

Napoleon is arguably the world’s most revered military leader. One of the most controversial political figures in history, his empire dominated continental Europe in the early 1800s.

But even he was susceptible to ideas that seemed worthy of pursuance only to be met with his downfall. In continental Europe, he saw domination. In Russia, he saw opportunity for greater power, greater control, like Boris and Nigel see at home.

Napoleon’s invasion tactics relied upon strong road networks and a good agricultural base to feed his troops. But Russia was not conducive to his plans. He thought the war would end in just 20 days. A month into the invasion and a fifth of Napoleon’s horses were dead for lack of food. Three months in, when he reached Moscow, a third of his men were dead or sick from disease and exhaustion.

The poor roads, lack of food, weather and ill discipline that came as a result left Napoleon’s army in tatters. Upon his return to Poland, just 100,000 of the 600,000-strong army that left five months earlier remained.

Ultimately, Napoleon made an uninformed decision to invade Russia. He was defeated.

Hitler repeats history

Don’t worry. Unlike the politicians, we're not going to suggest that Hitler would have voted this way or that. But he is another prime example of uninformed lunacy. Perhaps for a genocidal manic dead-set on global domination, taking Russia seemed like a logical, necessary step for the benefit of his country.

Like Napoleon, Hitler believed it would take no time at all to occupy Russia. He was slightly more realistic than Napoleon, however, expecting the campaign to last a few months. The Nazis fought in Russia for four years. Like Napoleon, he discovered Russia wasn’t what he thought. So perhaps the best idea is to move quickly? Attack and move through the country with pace. Yes. Great idea. A hypothetically brilliant idea, quickly brought back to earth by reality. Poor road networks meant food and equipment wasn’t able to keep up with the frontline, leaving them hungry and low on supplies.

Ultimately, Hitler made an uninformed decision to invade Russia. He was defeated.

Prohibition

The “noble experiment” – solve social problems, reduce corruption, reduce crime, better the public’s health. Prohibition sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

But it’s another example of people making uninformed decisions.

Prohibition didn’t just fail to solve social problems, reduce corruption, reduce crime and improve the public’s health. It did the complete opposite. Social problems were worse than ever. Crime became organised and intensified, and corruption was rife among law enforcement authorities. And while alcohol consumption initially dropped, it boomed, with many taking up opium, marijuana, patent medicines and cocaine, as well. Tax revenues from alcohol plummeted and the government was forced to increase spending.

These decisions all seemed good to the those making them at the time. But they were uninformed decisions. Just like millions of voters heading to the polling stations on Thursday hoping for a Brexit. In theory, the idea of ‘making Britain Great again’ sounds wonderful. But they are uninformed of the consequences.

The reality is that the Vote Leave campaign is the Titantic. It’s Napoleon’s army. It’s Hitler’s army. It’s prohibition - with Boris Johnson leading the way into the unknown, only to find things aren’t as easy as they thought.

We know the EU has its problems. But a vote to leave the European Union leaves the UK battered and broken, snapped in two at the bottom of the North Atlantic.

That is why we are voting to remain. And it’s why you should too.

By Nick James, founder, and Jonathan Davies, editor of Fresh Business Thinking.