A shaky launch for Euro campaigns

With hindsight, perhaps the choice of venue was the big mistake that the Labour campaign to stay "IN" Europe made.

Security is tight at the Culham Science Centre. It's the research centre where they help to develop nuclear fusion.

So no audience was allowed into the conference centre. A solitary sign in the corner of an anonymous office was all Labour managed to rustle up for the photocall by Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle and MEP Annaliese Dodds.

Ms Eagle called Mr Cameron's campaign for concessions in Europe "against the national interest".

"I know when I talk to business they want us to be engaged in the European Union. They don't want us to be behaving like we are."

Both sides struggling

The Vote Leave campaign also had their first big event in the South of England this week.

They stuck to tried and tested tactics. A rally in Southampton, and beforehand a bit of leafletting potential voters.

They chose a good location - the railway station - and soon a good dozen volunteers were at work, led by South East Conservative MEP Dan Hannan and former Labour minister Kate Hoey.

It would have been a breeze. Except this was the end of the working week and none of the commuters really fancied a long conversation with a stranger about the benefits of leaving the EU.

They had come prepared with a leaflet cunningly disguised with a front page about the NHS, and the leafletters tried to stop the flood of homeward bound voters with cries of "Would you like to talk about your local hospital?"

As Conservative MEP Dan Hannan put it "There is nowhere the EU tentacles do not reach. From the qualifications of doctors to what we pay nurses from Commonwealth countries."

Nevertheless most commuters walked on by.

So if they couldn't cut through to the public first hand, perhaps in Oxfordshire the IN campaign had chosen the better tactics - a media photocall with a big-hitter spreading the message?

Big-hitter photocall

Angela Eagle may have struggled to get the IN supporters into the Culham Laboratories, but surely the huge amounts of EU cash that have been spent here would allow her to get a winning snap in front of some ground-breaking bit of tech?

Well they asked, but Culham said no. There was some muttering about dirty tricks from the PR people but security were insistent.

Angela Eagle and our South East Labour MEP Anneliese Dodds ended up making their own private tour in lieu of a photo opportunity and the press had to make do with glimpsing scientists through the window while we waited.

So these are the first steps towards an historic vote. Shaky steps, but they will gather pace.

The big decision

At the moment however I have to report that the public aren't ready. Homeward-bound commuters may be excused a lack of interest, so I also stopped people in Abingdon to see if they were ready for the big decision to come and got some revealing answers.

"Do you know anything about the possible vote on staying in the European Union?"

"Nah I don't know anything about that."

"Not really. I've not really considered it."

"To be fair it doesn't really bother me that much I don't think."

"Will you vote?"

"Oh Yes. "

Perhaps when we get closer the campaigns will have more information. Perhaps the heat of battle between OUT and IN, or LEAVE and STAY or whatever emerges will capture our imagination.

But so far we've seen precious few answers to the many questions about what we will be voting on, whenever it comes.