The Guardian today calls on the services of Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, who declares:
"The EU referendum is an internecine dispute among the privileged, who use tub-thumping nationalism as a way of convincing others that they hold a stake in this pathetic game...
"Whether you back red or black in the tawdry crumbling casino of neoliberalism, and whatever the slimy croupiers of the mainstream media urge, it's the house that invariably wins."
So no guidance on which way to vote there, then. What about another guest columnist whose image couldn't be further from that of the spiky Welsh: mumsy Delia Smith?
Well, she, too, was feeling pretty exasperated with the politicians on Saturday:
"The now daily dose of scare tactics simply beggars belief, and do you know what? It so isn't working. Because at this stage we voters are just reduced to having a laugh. What else can you do when you are told there are 70 million Turks lining up, like the Zulus in the Stanley Baker film, coming over the hill set on seizing our jobs, our homes our lives....
"Frankly the current state of politics is pants in this debate."
She does, however, finally declare herself as firmly "in".
Also backing Remain on Saturday was Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister who had to quit in the middle of his country's refinancing shambles last year. He, like Walsh, detects a plot by the privileged to keep the proletariat in their place:
"The reason public services are failing is the rolling austerity that cloaks a vicious class war against Britain's poor; a war that would have happened even if the UK border were hermetically sealed.
"Indeed, without the labour, skills and dedication of migrants the NHS annd other services would have collapsed. Lest we forget, turning the native poor against migrants is a variant of the divide-and-rule trick the British establishment honed to dominate the empire. Today it uses the same strategy to dominate the domestic 'natives', hide austerity's effects and deflect anger towards the other - the foreigner, the migrant."
The day before, shadow business secretary Angela Eagle was fretting about another downtrodden majority: women. She noted that one in six people discussing Europe on television was a woman, in the Press it was one in ten, and the ten politicians receiving the most coverage were all men.
"It [the campaign] is overwhelmingly dominated by men, Cameron and Osborne on one side; Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage on the other. It is coming across more like an Eton playground spat than a serious debate about the future of our country...
"Whatever progress women make, the pattern seems set. Whenever an election is called, it's like a trapdoor opens beneath the chairs of every female politician and we simply disappear from the scene. As soon as the campaign kicks off, our politics regresses to a bygone men-only era."
Most Guardian columnists are in favour of staying in the EU, but on Thursday the paper gave a platform to Eurosceptic MP John Redwood, who predicted that David Cameron would have a tougher time controlling his party in the event of a Remain victory next month. As we've seen this weekend, the Prime Minister didn't have to wait that long for the stirrings in the ranks. Redwood says of Britain's attitude to Europe:
"Most of us don't want to join the euro and we wish to stay aloof from the common frontiers of the free-travel Schengen area. This makes our relationship with the EU fraught with tension and trouble. It's like joining a football club, then announcing you have no intention of either playing in or watching matches, and think the club subscription is too large. You just want to eat meals in the club cafe, which you could do anyway without joining the club."
The Telegraph has little call for guest writers, being the home of the biggest hitter of all - Boris Johnson - plus the likes of William Hague and Roger Bootle.
Last week, however, it offered a berth to former Tory trade secretary Peter Lilley, who wrote:
"The single market is talked about as if it were some inner sanctum accessible only to a privileged few. In fact, every country has access to the single market, with or without tariffs. The single market involved harmonising rules - sensible, since businesses can make one product for the European market, not 28. But that benefits American and Japanese exporters as much as German or British firms.
"People assume Britain benefits from participating in setting these rules. But rules provide a framework within which all companies operate - not an advantage to any country. Britain set the rules of tennis but rarely wins Wimbledon."
Most Telegraph columnists are of the Leave persuasion, but today the paper has offered hospitality to an interesting choice of Remainer: Andy Coulson, he of phone-hacking shame and causer of great embarrassment to the Prime Minister in his incarnation as director of communications at No 10. SubScribe cannot but wonder if there were more than a hint of mischief in this commission. Yes, Coulson is well-placed to comment on Steve Hilton, another former Cameron aide who stirred a bit of spice into the pudding last week with a suggestion that the Prime Minister was a closet Brexiteer. But there will also surely be Telegraph readers who won't believe a word Coulson says. So the paper can appear to be even-handed in the full-knowledge that his pro-Remain arguments will be discounted - if, indeed, they are read at all.
Recalling his time working with Hilton in Downing Street, Coulson writes:
"We clashed only when Hilton Airways set a course for La-La-Land with policies that promised, in an instant, to make us happier, more powerful and altogether cooler citizens...all to be announced against the backdrop of historic budget cuts...
"So watching Question Time brought a sense of deja vu. For Steve and the Leave campaign made the same promises of a better life, but without ever telling us how. For them, Brexit would transform Britain overnight into a happier, more powerful and altogether cooler country, flowing with cheaper, home-produced milk and organic honey...
"Therein lies the Leave campaigners problem. They want revolution but they haven't the first clue what will happen one day, one year or one decade later."
Hilton had, of course, burst into the debate courtesy of the Daily Mail and an extract from his forthcoming book in which he writes:
"As long as we are members, our country cannot be 'run'. Membership of the EU makes Britain literally ungovernable, in the sense that no administration elected by the people can govern the country....membership of the EU brings with it contraints on everything from employment law to family policy, all determined through distant centralised processes we hardly understand, let alone control...
"One way of thinking about this referendum is that the choice is not actually between staying and leaving - but between leaving and joining a new EU.
"Because an EU after a British vote to stay would be a very different creature from the one we have today. It would be an EU unleashed, freed from the constraints of having to placate the pesky British with their endless complaining and threats to leave.
"Once they know we will never leave, all leverage will be gone."
Apart from giving Max Hastings a page to argue in favour of staying in the EU, Mail columnists have all been pro-Brexit. As with the Telegraph, the paper mainly uses in-house talent, but it is keen on employment minister Priti Patel, who told the Prime Minister that he was too posh to understand worries about immigration. Last week it ran a short piece by her to accompany a story about the Operation Black Vote seesaw poster in which she wrote:
"The insulting idea that racism is the driving force behind the Brexit campaign is increasingly voiced by Remain supporters...
"It is not racist to be concerned about the unsustainable pressures on our civic infrastructure...
"The EU is the real force for extremism in Europe because, through its calamitous policies on migration and the single currency, it is creating ever greater political disillusion. That in turn is feeding the growth of far-right movements."
The paper also looked beyond Kensington to find an author for its Saturday essay this weekend. It came up with David Coleman, professor of demography at Oxford University, whom it describes as one of the country's top population experts. The standfirst to the piece begins "With academic objectivity...", which sounds commendable - if only the paper had mentioned somewhere that Coleman is the co-founder of Migration Watch, which is not renowned for its objective attitude towards immigration.
Coleman is of the view that white Britons will be in a minority in this country within fifty years if immigration is not curbed. He spells out various ways that net migration could be reduced, including a UK exit from the EU:
"A post-Brexit government could decide to limit entry from the EU, possibly favouring highly-skilled migrants. Indeed, there would be little point in Brexit without such measures. That would restrict EU inflows, most of which are in low-paid work.
"Further expansion of the EU is likely to increase migration even more. The apparently relentless drive to the East by the EU Commission will activate further sources of migration as more poor countries are embraced by the EU. Looking to the future, citizens of possible new accession countries (such as Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Turkey, Bosnia and Kosovo) will be eligible for work in the UK once they join.
"The long-run migration potential from those countries is highly uncertain — but it is likely to be large. In case this seems fanciful, recall that an estimated one-third of the population of Albania is already thought to be living in Western countries."
With the Daily Mail so stridently pro-Brexit, it follows - if you believe Private Eye's view of the rivaly between editors Paul Dacre and Geordie Greig - that its Sunday sister would take the counter view. And so it was that John Major popped up in the MoS yesterday to "savage boorish and sneering" Brexiteers, whom he accused of distorting the truth, political trickery and of irresponsible and provocative oratory on immigration. He continues:
"It's an absolute mess. No wonder the British people are left baffled, bewildered and confused. They need to know what all this would mean for their future, but Vote Leave are in such a muddle themselves that none of them seems willing or able to explain it to others...
"Vote Leave has consistently failed to tell us how they see the UK outside Europe. They have glib slogans, but no solid detail. They know what they are against, but have no agreed position on what they are for. Some of the leaders of Vote Leave are my fellow Conservatives. Others are experienced parliamentarians. I don't doubt their patriotism, nor their commitment to their cause. But I am dismayed by the way in which they have conducted this campaign, which I believe to have been a fraud on the British people.
"They have, knowingly, told untruths about the cost of Europe. They have promised negotiating gains that cannot – and will not – be delivered. They have hailed alleged advantages of leaving Europe, while ignoring even the most obvious obstacles and drawbacks. They have raised phantom fears that cannot be justified, puffing up their case with false statistics, unlikely scenarios and downright untruths. To mislead the British nation in this fashion – when its very future is at stake – is unforgivable."
By way of balance, the paper also hosts pro-Leave MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who writes:
"Whatever the outcome, the verdict of the British people has to be respected. There can be no excuse for a second referendum, however narrow the margin of victory for either side. There can be no rerun of the contest just because one side does not like the outcome. I say this even in the unlikely event of a Remain victory on June 23. If the British people vote to stay, then I will have to accept that, and shut up.
"But if – as I expect – we vote Leave, then that result should also be respected, not simply taken as an incentive for Brussels to offer amended membership terms to persuade us to stay.
"A Leave result cannot merely be a supplication for a little Bisto to be added to the thin gruel of the Prime Minister's renegotiation. It is a final choice. Less happy lands without confidence in their abilities have been bullied into voting again. This cannot happen to the United Kingdom."
Major was not the only former Prime Minister on parade yesterday: Tony Blair was pressed into service for the Sunday Times, where he was put head-to-head with former Labour Foreign Secretary David Owen.
Blair's attitude could be interpreted by Leave campaigners as the ultimate expression of "Project Fear", with its central message: "If in doubt, stay." Explaining why, he writes:
"We’re not asking the blue-sky question of whether we should be there; we’re living in a landscape whose ground has been shaped by our presence over many years. Retreating from this would be painful — and not a little painful, but a long, agonising process of disengagement, all the while with a pall of uncertainty hanging over us...
"It’s not scaremongering; it’s a warning. Leaving the European single market — by volume, the biggest commercial market in the world — is a seismic economic decision. It would be a betrayal of the British interest by exiting what was a British achievement.
"To be worth the risk, leaving would have to entail not a marginal benefit but an overwhelming raison d’être."
Owen - who also popped up backing Remain in an interview for the Telegraph on Saturday - had no such qualms about taking a leap of faith:
"Facing a period of readjustment for two to three years while we leave a dysfunctional EU, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Every year that the UK can spend transitioning out from the EU will be well spent. We have already switched 10% of our EU exports to world markets over the past 10 years. We can speed that up considerably outside the EU.
"In EU which creates, and then cannot deal with, the structural flaws in its eurozone is not one we would have joined and is one we should leave. The single currency changed everything. Its basic design, opposed by the Bundesbank, is unworkable...
"No one knows when the eurozone crisis will morph into a collapse, at which point every country within the EU risks collateral damage. The fact that the UK is not a member of the eurozone does not mean we will escape unhurt...
"International leaders believe that if they can postpone Britain’s exit then they can put in place in their own countries sufficient insulation to reduce the shock wave of a eurozone collapse: they are entitled to do so but not at our expense."