For those who went to bed at a normal time it appeared nailed on that the remain campaign was ready to take the day, as the night wore on events turned. Even Nigel Farage at an early stage in the evening almost appeared to concede defeat. Traders seemed to be factoring a remain vote. As the night wore on events did not pan out that way, indeed early on results from the north seemed to suggest that remain may not get it their way. Equity markets overnight gave up all the gains made in the past week and more, the pound fell sharply against the US dollar, back to levels last seen in 1985. The United Kingdom appeared divided in its views, Scotland and Ireland to stay, Wales and England to leave.
One widely held believe was that a high turnout would favour the remain campaign, like so many believes coming into the vote, that view also appeared wrong as the high turnout did not help the remain campaign. This vote may create some uncertainty in the coming months, some believe that this vote lead to the eventual break up of Europe itself. The result could also lead to another general election. The outcome could be close enough to suggest that another referendum in the coming weeks cannot be ruled out.
The idea that at the end of the day the fear of the unknown would lead the remain campaign winning the day; this too was not to be the case. The country voted in a Conservative government last year whose leader campaigned strongly to remain. The country a year later failed to back him in probably the largest issue to face the electorate for many years. This vote was the first time for many years the British people had a chance to vote against the establishment and they took it.
The next question could well be, will this vote lead to a break-up of the UK? The countries that make up the UK appear divided, in particular where Scotland is concerned.
Opinion polls over the past weeks have tended to suggest that the vote would be close and that the leave camp could win the day, Opinion polls have been discounted over the past years as they appeared to get the outcome wrong, bookmakers were a far better indicator. The bookmakers believed at 10 pm last night that the result was nailed on, odds on a remain were 7 to 1 on.
We have lived through many financial turmoil’s, leaving the ERM created a great deal of uncertainty. At the time it feels awful but with hindsight it created many opportunities. The sharp fall in sterling in 1992 time helped boost the economy in the coming years. Economically there will be pluses and minuses to tonight’s vote. Europe exports at least as much to the UK as the UK does to Europe, one would assume they will not want to cut off their noses to spite their face. The weeks ahead will be interesting, but one thing is almost certain the world will keep turning, Waitrose will still sell food, BP petrol and Diageo spirits.