Referendum result sends UK hurtling towards breaking point

UKIP leader Nigel Farage fronting a controversial poster, with its overtones from the propaganda of Goebbels and which was withdrawn. But not before it influenced the Referendum outcome

UKIP leader Nigel Farage fronting a controversial poster, with its overtones from the propaganda of Goebbels,  and which had to be withdrawn. But not before it influenced the Referendum outcome

Nigel Farage this morning said that June 23 should go down as the country’s “independence day”. In fact, following the result of the referendum on membership of the European Union, yesterday will mark the beginning of the end of the United Kingdom, as Scotland and Northern Ireland both voted for Remain but were out-voted by Leavers in England and Wales.

Indeed, London, and Croydon, voted for Remain, with our borough voting 92,913  in support of continued membership of the EU and 78,221 wanting to leave, off a 69 per cent turn-out of voters.

But by the time Croydon’s vote was declared, the referendum result for the nation as a whole was already determined, with the BBC confirming at 6am that the Farage and Boris Johnson-led exit campaigners had accumulated enough votes to make it impossible, with just a few results yet to be declared, for Remain to win the vote overall.

Nationally, on a 72 per cent turnout, the BBC was reporting Leave at 52 per cent and Remain at 48 per cent, the Brexiteers having a majority of 1.1 million votes.

It is The City, when the markets open this morning, which will demonstrate where the real power lies in this country, though. The value of Sterling fell by 6 per cent in the early hours of the morning, following strong Leave results in Newcastle and Sunderland. It was a currency crash worse than on Black Wednesday in 1992 when Britain was crushed out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, when Norman Lamont was the Tory Chancellor and one of his junior advisors was David Cameron.

Having played a part in one meltdown of the markets 24 years ago, Cameron has now managed to preside over another, more significant City “re-adjustment”, one which some analysts were saying was likely to have a bigger impact on the British economy than the global economic crash of 2008.

For the EU Referendum was Cameron’s, and his loyal supporters including Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell, desperate bid for power, offered as a sop at last year’s General Election in an effort to quieten the far-right of the Conservative Party and see-off the election challenge of UKIP.

Cameron’s previous referendum, in Scotland, had almost ended the United Kingdom while undermining the Labour Party’s position in Scotland. His second referendum seems, at dawn this morning, certain to end the union that has lasted on the island of Britain since 1707. And it casts a very dark cloud of uncertainty over Cameron’s immediate future as leader of the Conservatives and Prime Minister, and for the future of the Tory Party.

The EU Referendum shows London at odds with the rest of the country. The largely Labour-voting capital voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU, though there were five boroughs which voted Leave, including nearby Bexley and our neighbours in Sutton, where the EU-supporting Liberal Democrats who have controlled the council there for a quarter of a century must now be extremely concerned about their political futures.

In fact, London’s 60-40 vote for Remain was not as significant as it might have been. Whether it was the storms or the latest bout of chaos on the trains which made the turnout lower than in some other parts of the country, despite getting a majority of Londoners, Remain failed to get enough of them to make a difference against the rest of England and Wales’s Leavers. Click here for the full breakdown of how London voted.

How the currency markets reacted overnight to the news of the Referendum's Bexit vote

How the currency markets reacted overnight to the news of the Referendum’s Bexit vote

Immediate concerns will see a fast-moving situation this morning, with the suggestion that the Bank of England may need to intervene to stabilise the currency markets – by 7am, the pound was at a 30-year low against the US dollar – and the London Stock Exchange closed to avoid panic trading. Parliament may need to be recalled (again), with a possible Saturday sitting.

“One thing we can be sure of now: George Osborne will never balance the UK’s books. And nor will anyone else for a long time to come,” was the view of economist Richard Murphy. “If you want a single explanation for Leave, it’s that the economics of austerity have failed.”

Britain’s position with multi-national industries will emerge more quickly, perhaps, than the Government may feel comfortable with. Tata Steel has already announced that, as result of the Brexit vote, all deals are off to save the 14,000 jobs in South Wales. How many workers at the Nissan car plant in Leave-voting Sunderland may lose their jobs when the Japanese car-maker loses its access to the European markets probably won’t be known for weeks, or months.

There’s one job, though, which could be decided very quickly. The Prime Minister’s.

Having provided the opportunity for Britain to turn its back on our European partners, and then led the argument to Remain, David Cameron’s position looks untenable, despite some calls for the lame-duck Prime Minister to stay on to oversee the Brexit procedure, a process of uncoupling after 40 years’ membership which could take at least two years.

But will he have the stomach for such a task?

8.30am UPDATE: The answer to that (not-quite rhetorical) question is “No”.

Cameron announced on the steps of No10 Downing Street that he would step down as Prime Minister, with his replacement needing to be in place by the time of the Tory Party conference in October and the exit process commenced then.


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6 Responses to Referendum result sends UK hurtling towards breaking point

  1. David Hoole says:

    So, it’s the beginning of the end of the U.K. Really ? And it’s partly Gavin Barwell’s fault. Really ? I suggest that Scotland should wait and see how the E.U. develops in the next few months, or unravels, before holding another Scottish referendum. If the Vote Leave win really does cause a meltdown of the E.U., it wasn’t such a great institution after all, but a house of cards. Also wait and see how much of the true, ugly face of some eurocrats and European poiticians is revealed by our leaving negotiations. Then decide if they do want to stay in the E.U. Stalinist club, but with the influence of only 1% of the E.U. population. Which will be the better union to belong to ? The U.K. or the E.U. ? Similarly for the Northern Irish : London on the one hand, or Dublin and Berlin – er Brussels I mean, on the other hand.

    • While you were writing that, Sturgeon was declaring UDI for Scotland. So yes, it is the beginning of the end of the UK. Well done Tories, or what used to call itself the Conservative and Unionist Party.

      As to the “ugly face of some eurocrats”, does that include Farridge and his UKIP carpet-baggers, who have been living life high on the hog at the expense of the EU for the past decade or so.

      But hey. Get back to us tomorrow or Monday when you next go to fill your car’s fuel tank and let us know whether you’re paying more or less than you did earlier this week. The markets have spoken: in one day, Godeon Osborne has had to authorise the Bank of England to bail out the banks again with £250bn – a quarter of the total bail-out used for the global economic meltdown (caused by the banks) in 2008.

      So it’s all going very well…

  2. David Hoole says:

    Sturgeon can’t declare UDI, obviously. The Scots haven’t voted yet, or even agreed to do so. Farage and others (e.g. Daniel Hannan) have said they want to be put out of their (European) jobs. As for fuel or other costs, i am quite willing to make financial sacrifices for the sake of a historical change of direction which i believe to be right. That was one of my considerations when i made my choice – i had enough warnings from Remain after all !

    • By definition, a Unilateral Declaration of Independence is just that, unilateral. So Sturgeon and the Scots can do what they like, and Scotland’s first minister has announced that she will be preparing legislation for (yet another) referendum.

      I’ll believe Farridge’s claims to eschew Brussels money the day he starts sending back the payments. I’ll expect you to highlight that when it happens.

      And wonderful to discover that you’re happy to burden everyone else with, for a starter, a £250 billion bail-out, as announced by the Bank of England today. The flight of big business from our city has also started, with 2,000 banking jobs being transfered to Frankfurt or Dublin.

      Farridge lied about the £350 million per week going to the NHS – the amount was a deliberate exaggeration and he admitted that this promised diversion was impossible this morning – and his claims of “Project Fear” are already turning into “Project Reality”. Trouble is, neither he, nor Johnson, nor any of the other ragtag populist opportunists who hitched their political careers to the xenophobic cause have a scooby doo what to do next.

  3. joeycan says:

    It is absolutely amazing that, barely 48 hours after the most momentous decision the citizens of this Country have made in the last 40 years, the knee-jerk reactions of those on the left and right of the political spectrum, based on no facts, just reactions – many only speculation – have started to appear.

    A plague upon you all!!!

    The Bank of England has said, in effect, “we calculated the implications of a Brexit and have planned accordingly”.
    The other greedo-speculators clearly assumed that a Brexit was unlikely, so why plan for one (although given the warning signs across the Country over the past few months that was something they should not have ignored). If these people are paid vast sums of money to forecast the future they have failed.

    I am not planning to say any more on this unfolding saga (you will be please to note), until the dust has settled and proper facts are presented and I think that everyone else should do the same!!

  4. mraemiller says:

    I like the way we’re now told we need a referendum on the results of the referendum like the plebs have nothing else to do than turn out and vote in endless plebiscites.

    Maybe people were just fed up of their diet of like it or like it or lump it like it or lump it like it or lump it okay you can have a vote on it but it’s done now.

    You want a referendum? Okay pick any card. Are you sure you want that one and not the other one? That’s not your card, is it? Oh never mind pick another card….

    What was the point in the EU anyway? The largest UK party there was UKIP who’d do nothing but turn up in purple suits and Union Jack ties and turn their backs in a giant sulk whenever Ode to Joy was played.n It used to have a plan of ever closer union and a single currency but when the latter went pear shaped so did the former and it seems to have lost its USP.

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