So what a day today has been so far. First, forgot to put phone on silent and woke up at 5am to the BBC news app alert. Having gone to bed around midnight with the pound soaring and markets basically believing the exit poll, I had no idea what I was to wake up to. Suffice to say that I didn’t get back to sleep afterwards. I could not, and still do not, believe what I am seeing.
I thought reason would win out against emotion, misplaced anger and the serious misrepresentation conducted in this campaign. Ignorance has prevailed. Now we reap what we have sown. We tried our best but it was not enough.
When I say ignorance, I do not mean the out voters who had legitimate arguments for why this could be a good way out. I mean the many who turned this into an emotional single issue vote, or a “protest vote”. Many are now regretting this. I have yet to see any well-argued cases for why we should leave the EU. Most descend rapidly into slanging matches and calls to give reasoned arguments against ours just fall on deaf ears.
Uncertainty will prevail for a protracted period. We’re not going to invoke article 50 until October at the earliest it seems and then at least 2 years of negotiation follow. This is an optimistic timetable by any existing trade negotiation standard. One thing markets, business and investors hate is uncertainty!
By 6am the Eastern markets suspended trading after the Nikkei crashed 8%. We dropped to a record low of 1.32 against the dollar. Gold surged and the FTSE opened 9% down. The bankers will be making huge profits from betting against the markets. Some of this has recovered, but as US markets open shortly we will see the full fallout. Many FTSE stocks are still very down, including banking and finance shares. This is ordinary peoples’ pension funds going down the pan rapidly.
It is not scaremongering to advise people to expect job losses. Think if you were a US company with a whole world of companies to go to. Do you give the deal to the UK with all that is going on, or choose a competitor not subject to the uncertainty? I have already been told by a number of people that their companies are really worried as they rely heavily on the EU for their business.
Oh but we’ll get free trade deals, they need us more than we need them surely? Don’t be so sure. The stakes just got much higher than a few percentage points of export stats. The entire future of the EU is now at stake and there will be significant pressure to exact a heavy toll on Britain leaving as a deterrent to others following suit. France, Germany and others are having big problems with the rise of their nationalist parties. That will need to be countered and acting tough on us will be a key part of that.
I expect a correction in the housing market as foreign investors propping up the market pull away. Bear in mind the value of their investments against other currencies just dropped 10% or so. It would be folly to pay anywhere near market rate for a house right now with the real risk of a market fall. Many may welcome a sharp drop in house prices but fail to see the consequence it has on an economy built on house prices going up. People trapped in negative equity stop spending.
Cameron Gone, UK Next
David Cameron has now gone. That was inevitable in the event of this result. He has gambled big and lost even bigger. Our entire country’s future is now at stake and this will be his legacy. At least he is staying short term which has helped stabilise things. Had he resigned outright that could have been very damaging.
Ultimately this gamble did not have to be taken. These sorts of decisions should not be put to a public vote where emotion will outweigh reason. It is why we elect representatives after all.
The UK will likely not be the UK for much longer, as was inevitable when Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain and is now facing the prospect of being dragged out the EU against its will. There will be a further independence referendum and this time it will be a resounding yes vote. Northern Ireland is in a similar position and you can expect calls for reunification.
Europe is in Jeopardy
Most worrying is the unravelling of decades of Europe coming closer together. It is highly likely the EU project is now doomed and it’s destruction will be a self-fulfilling prophecy from the leave campaign. Britain leaving will trigger a series of calls for other countries to have their own referendum. This is already happening in France and the Netherlands for example.
How have we allowed decades of social progress to come to this? How have we let populist right wing figures hijack a nation and tell them that all of this is Europe’s fault? We have a lot of work to do!
The Lies Unravel Already
So far this morning we have had Nigel Farage say the £350m figure is a mistake. That’s the figure that was the feature of a great deal of the Leave campaign’s literature and was slapped all over the side of their battle bus. If a company ran it’s advertising in this way, the ASA would be all over them. Within hours a main feature of their campaign has been reneged on.
Now we have another member of the leave campaign Daniel Hannan saying immigration won’t fall. So that huge issue that was as focus of the leave campaign is also unravelling!
Now the consequences
Now to face reality and battle the consequences. Will this be short lived as some say? Short term pain long term gain? I hope so but doubt it. This is not going to be resolved quickly and one thing people hate is uncertainty.
A big sorry to the rest of Europe and the World. We tried our best to fight with reason. We had the backing of the vast majority of the thought leaders in the UK. It wasn’t enough to battle the populist right and convince people that Europe is not the source of our problems. The shockwaves of this outcome will now be felt across the planet.
Next our electorate will be ignoring other experts and seeking the advice of celebrities as to whether to vaccinate their children. Oh wait…
A sad day :(.