So now the political battle lines are drawn, as the UK heads towards a referendum on its membership of the EU.
The decision day for the so called Brexit – or Bremain – is June 23rd.
It will be one of the key moments for the UK for a generation – politically, economically and socially.
And, if the UK votes to leave the European Union, the ripples will be felt around the world. The period of uncertainty in this scenario will stretch from months to years.
Perhaps more than ever before, business is going to pushed and pulled to play an integral role in the debate. This is because, while business does not have a vote, the implications will be profound.
But despite this, there is something about this issue which is peculiar.
The referendum is coming in four months’ time yet many seem to have their heads in the sand. Recently the Financial Times released a survey saying that there was widespread complacency around the Brexit among the FTSE. There was also a warning that it was dangerous for boards to ignore the issue.
As a major fault line in business and political life, the Brexit debate has the potential to become a toxic issue and one which will have to be carefully monitored and managed.
Any chief executive being interviewed will be asked about their company’s position. Investors, employees and policymakers are also key stakeholders to be considered.
Like the referendum, this is something that we know is coming and it is better that we are prepared for it, rather than busking it.
That is why we, at Instinctif Partners, have developed the Brexit Assessment to allow companies and organisations to better understand how prepared they are and to identify areas where they can prepare more.
For those companies that get it right, there will are potential upsides in terms of differentiation and market opportunity. For those that think this will go away, there is tremendous risk.
Either way, there is a lot at stake.
Find out how prepared you are for Brexit by taking our assessment here.