“Can I tell you a story?” asks shipowner Sir Michael Bibby. “It’s the only way I have been able to explain the situation in simple English.” With the UK facing a referendum on 23 June on its future in the European Union (EU), the managing director of Liverpool-based Bibby Line Group believes the country’s citizens find themselves in the same position as an accountant at a large company.

“He is sitting there thinking, ‘I have a nice job, it pays the mortgage and gives my wife a holiday — but it’s a bit boring.