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Apr 27

Fact checking the EU in-or-out debate

Image showing logos of organisations offering facts or fact checking on UK EU referendum
Everyone seems to have been asking for more facts on which to base their decision about the EU referendum.

Experts have been listening and there are now quite a number of websites and news organisations offering facts, and more especially, fact checking of what campaigners on either side are saying:

  • FullFact: an independent factchecking charity which has put together a team to check facts on the EU referendum (and are still fundraising to support this)
  • The UK in a Changing Europe run by academics from Kings College London and other bodies
  • BBC RealityCheck: a live stream of assessments on recent public pronouncements and speeches
  • Channel 4’s FactCheck blog: going behind the spin to dig out the truth and separate political fact from fiction
  • OpenEurope: committed to reform of the EU.  Their council has decided to remain neutral in the campaign

These sites claim to be independent.  There are other sites also claiming to state the facts while campaigning on one side of the debate:

  • InFacts: why Britain should remain in the EU
  • Leave.EU the facts: from the “grassroots” campaign for the UK to leave the EU

Of course, nobody is ever totally independent, though some of the organisations are trying their hardest to be so, since that is their main purpose.

Note also that facts are hard enough to establish when we are looking at what currently happens or what has happened while the UK has been in the EU.  What will happen in the future depend on forecasts which could have a huge margin for error.  The best we can do is make sure the forecasts are based on reasonable assumptions, correctly calculated and include a sensitivity analysis i.e. show what happens if key assumptions are not exactly as predicted.

The MBF website, with our “EU: In or Out” pages, will aim to produce, reproduce or link to interesting information displayed in informative ways.  There will be more produced ready for our meeting on May 3rd and continuing updates after that.