Remember the school playground when everyone got the joke but you? You laughed along anyway praying no-one would ask you to explain it since only a dolt wouldn’t get it, right? The UK referendum on 23 June 2016 is a bit like that, where everyone has taken a side and pitched into the battle on staying or going – except you don’t really understand the basics of it all, never mind the politics around the thing. This BBC article should help you join the ranks of those who ‘get’ it. Where you choose to pitch your tent after that is up to you – and you’re the only one who then has to get or understand your choice. Ed

What is happening?

A referendum is being held on Thursday, 23 June to decide whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union. This article is designed to be an easy-to-understand guide – if you have any questions you can send them in using this link. We’ll be answering a selection at the bottom of the page.

What is a referendum?

A referendum is basically a vote in which everyone (or nearly everyone) of voting age can take part, normally giving a “Yes” or “No” answer to a question. Whichever side gets more than half of all votes cast is considered to have won.

Why is a referendum being held?

Prime Minister David Cameron promised to hold one if he won the 2015 general election, in response to growing calls from his own Conservative MPs and the UK Independence Party (UKIP), who argued that Britain had not had a say since 1975, when it voted to stay in the EU in a referendum. The EU has changed a lot since then, gaining more control over our daily lives, they argued. Mr Cameron said: “It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics.”

Read on | BBC