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Joseph Steele

Fear and Loathing in a Disunited Kingdom: A report from Albion

London – It seemed that no one thought it would really happen. By the time the polls closed at 10PM on the night of the United Kingdom’s referendum on its membership of the European Union, most polls indicated a narrow Remain victory. Nigel Farage had already grudgingly conceded defeat – before de-conceding; the financial markets were steady, the pound stable. Inside the Remain victory party at the Royal Festival Hall, the mood was upbeat. Brexiters kept mum. Then the results came pouring in. That Gibraltar voted Remain surprised no one. But the first results that mattered – Sunderland, Kettering, even Newcastle – pointed in favour of a Leave vote. On social media, pundits fretted that places they had never heard of, much less visited, were deciding the UK’s destiny. Europhiles still hoped that a large London turnout would swing the pendulum, but it was not to be. At a little past four, David Dimbleby, who had also anchored the BBC’s coverage of Britain’s first European referendum – announced that the decision made 1975 had been overturned; Britain had voted to leave the EU. Remainers were despondent: the Europhile MP Keith Vaz was on the verge of tears when he was interviewed; Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said he respected the people’s verdict, before saying that they should never have been allowed to vote in the first place. Leave campaigners, who dared not hope but did – were equally emotional. Upon being told the result by a journalist, a lower-class Leave campaigner in Lancashire broke down in tears: ‘we did it…everybody listened…everybody understands’. The silent masses of England had spoken, and for the first time in decades they felt they have been heard.     By 10 AM David Cameron had resigned. Boris Johnson was booed by Londoners… Read More