If you scratch the political itch in Britain at the moment you're likely to end up with a pulsating, weeping wound.

The temperature in the country is at boiling point as they prepare to vote later tonight on whether they want to stay as a member of the European Union in the debate that's become known as Brexit.

The House of Lords even heard from our very own Winston Peters on the topic on Black Friday last month. He was invited there by the hard line anti-immigration United Kingdom Independence Party, known as UKIP, which hasn't exactly endeared itself to the great British unwashed with some injudicious outbursts from some of its members.

One saying that a political rival of Sri Lankan descent wasn't British enough to be in Parliament, his family had only been in the country since the 70s despite the fact that he'd been born in London. Another Kent councillor, describing herself as outspoken, confiding the only people she had problems with were Negroes, and she didn't know why, which simply confirmed her ignorance.

Winston Peters spoke to the House of Lords, encouraging a vote for Britain to leave the European Union. Photo / File
Winston Peters spoke to the House of Lords, encouraging a vote for Britain to leave the European Union. Photo / File

And even their articulate leader Nigel Farage, who Peters posed with, defending the term Chinks when referring to Chinese, even if he didn't use it himself.

Peters told the Lords they should Brexit, to again look to the Commonwealth, as they did prior to 1973 when they went into what was then known as the European Economic Community, ditching us as their bread basket which clearly still rankles with the New Zealand First leader.

In fact we've done pretty well since then, putting our eggs into a number of trade baskets, and now even negotiating a free trade deal with Europe, which UKIP and Peters are of course opposed to.

The closest we've got to a Union is the Closer Economic Relationship with Australia, but even though we were considering a common currency at one stage, we're still free to make our own laws and, unlike the EU, there's not a secretariat that costs Britain around $700 million a week to belong to.

Debate over Brexit, which began a year ago, has been fierce with no political punches being pulled, even between MPs on the same side of the political fence. The most trenchant and disturbing, bigoted exchanges have been about immigration.

The last referendum they held on it was two years after joining Europe when there was a 65 per cent turnout with 67 per cent voting to stay with The Continent and 33 per cent wanting to break away.

Bookies are predicting a similar result this time round, but even if it is, it'll take a long time to heal the wounds.