EU Referendum

EU Referendum: Victory!


05:05 We're on 15.2m to 14.2m  for the remains ... we're more than a million ahead, going up. Congratulations everybody ... the team. You did us all proud. We did it.

And so to bed. I've been up for 22 hours. I'll pick up when I've had a bit of sleep.

04:55 Keith Vaz says this is a crushing, crushing decision. A terrible decision... "in a thousand years, I would never have believed people would have voted in this way. It's catastrophic". We must now get the best deal in respect of our exit.

04:49 The Eurocrats are now facing a Brexit-coloured wrecking ball smashing through the Berlaymont.

04:38: Remain on 11,944,720. Leave gets 12,751,576 votes. This is an 800K margin, going on 1 million. Dimbleby says there is no way "remain" can win. It looks as if we have reversed the decision of the 1975 referendum. We're out.

04:31: Rumour has it that Birmingham is about to go leave. And we're waiting for Cornwall ... patronising twat called Martin somebody says fishing is a "very emotional" issue. Steve Hilton says the question is no longer about whether we leave but how.

04:20: Count now stands at 10,363,816 for remain and 10,996,500 for leave - a clear 600K advantage. The BBC's Emily Maitlis interviews Will Straw - who looks knackered. Remainers behind him very subdued. But he does not concede defeat. This is a "wake-up call" for the political élites, he says. It's a very close result - there's going to be a "lot of reflection".

04:04 Stupid BBC person says that if we leave the EU, we put things like Erasmus behind us. And yet she will pick up her salary cheque this month. Meanwhile, Farage is giving a ranty victory speech. Just as well the polls are closed - that would have cost us a million votes. BBC is saying the "balance of advantage" lies with leave campaign. 

03:55 I can see dawn from my office window - a new dawn on an independent Britain? Yay! Suck it up guys. The lights are on in the Berlaymont. Hillary Benn says "if you walk away from the world's largest market, you crate (sic) a great deal of uncertainty". Note to Benn ... if we leave, the EU is no longer the world's largest market!

03:45 Rossendale in Lancashire delivers 39.3 percent for remain (15,012 votes), while leave gets 60.7 percent (23,169 votes) - at last, we've got something good to say about Lancashire. The discussion about what we might need to do if we vote leave is no longer an academic one. Remain is saying they still think a win is "possible". Leave is on 6 million and the remains are on 5.8 million. And, in the "Asian markets", there is "a real sense of anxiety" ... aw, shucks!

03:40: On a personal level, recorded 59,659 hits yesterday and 21,968 already today. With 380 comments on this thread, this sets new records for the blog. My thanks to all readers and supporters.

In high-immigrant Haringey, remain gets 75.6 percent (79,991 votes) while a mere 24.4 goes to leave (25,855 votes). Crawley is an interesting one. Home authority for Gatwick airport, it delivers a remain vote of 41.6 percent (22,388 votes) and leave gets 58.4 percent (31,447 votes).

03:15 We have 260 of 382 areas still to declare, so we're not even halfway. But remain is still trailing with 49.8 percent on 4,149,554 votes and leave is still ahead (marginally) on 50.2 percent, with 4,184,849 votes. The country is split down the middle. Dimbleby is trying to pull in extraneous domestic issues and play down the EU element. He doesn't get it.

03:05 Nobby Richmond upon Thames delivers 69.3 percent and 75,396 votes for remain and 30.7 percent and 33,410 votes for leave. Nevertheless, the BBC is talking of a "high possibility" of a Brexit by the end of the night. This is something of a turnround - part of the dynamic is that Labour members outside London are telling the party to get stuffed.

02:53 286 results left to declare. Leave stands at 3,453,618 votes and remain gets 3,420,957 votes. It's London and Scotland versus the rest of the country, but even London isn't homogeneous. Barking & Dagenham has yielded only 37.6 percent for remain at 27,750 votes, while 62.4 percent and 46,130 votes go to leave.

02:00: Unexpected strength in the North-East is skewing the result in favour of "leave".

01:25: Overall, the English vote stands at "leave" with 324,829 votes and remain at 256,890 votes. For the UK as a whole, remain has gained 344,535 votes. Leave has taken 370,404 votes. There are 367 results yet to declare. The electorate is 46,503,464.

Whoever is going to get a victory, they are having work for the result. Based on current turnout estimates - 67.4 percent - the winning post is set at 16.8 million. As a reminder, the 1975 turnout was 64.5 percent. Peter Kelner is saying the results look much closer now. A remain victory is no longer certain.

01:19 Shetland declares remains at 56.5 percent and leave at 43.5 percent. This is an interesting result. Shetland was one of the only two areas in the 1975 referendum which came in with a "no" vote, delivering 56 percent.

01:00: Swindon delivers another possible outlier, with the remains coming in at 45.3 percent (51,220 votes) and leave at 54.7 percent (61,745 votes). Broxbourne gives the remains 33.7 percent and the "leaves" 66.3 percent. There is no clear trend yet emerging from any of these results. That "long night" just got longer.

Dimbleby, talking about the prospects of leaving the EU, starts referring to "Chapter 50". This is the BBC's finest political mind?

00:54: A stonking result from Sunderland. The "remains" get 51,930 votes while the "leaves" pull in 82,394 votes. This is much better than expected. The "remains" are said to be a little nervous. That gives the "remains" 38.7 percent, while the "leaves" have taken 61.3 percent.

Clackmannanshire is also in: Remain 57.8 percent, leave 42.2 percent. This puts the "leave" campaign ahead by 3,200 votes after 5 declarations. Foyle (Northern Ireland) gives the "remains" 78.3 percent. Leave gets 21.7 percent.

00:05 Newcastle: first result from England - Remain: 65,404 (50.7 percent), Leave 63,598 (49.3 percent). This is much closer than predicted by the legion of "experts". The "remains" were expecting to have done better. Orkney also in. Remain 63.2 percent, leave 36.8 percent. In 1975, it delivered 62 percent "yes" - the two results almost the same.

23:37: Massive 96 percent vote in Gibraltar in favour of remain - to no one's surprise.

23:22: Speaking to a High Person this evening, his day on the hustings had no one mention the £350 million "savings" as the reason for leaving. One of the biggest handicaps of the entire campaign, he said, was having to talk down the lie, before the discussion could get down to the details. In every way imaginable, the Vote Leave campaign has been a train wreck. If we do actually win, it will have been in spite of, not because, of the efforts of the Vote Leave hierarchy.

22:55: Ipsos Mori offers an "on-the-day" poll with "remain" in the lead with 54 percent and "leave" at 46 percent – closer to my minimum expectation of a ten-point gap. 

There is good evidence to support a thesis that a substantial number of people do not actually make up their minds until they have a pencil in their hand and are looking at the ballot paper. It is then that the "fear" motivation is at its strongest. And it is my view that Vote Leave and the other main "leave" campaigns simply failed sufficiently to address the economic impact of leaving.

In fact, by specifically rejecting continued participation in the Single Market, Vote Leave seems to have gone out of its way to ensure that we would lose what I believe was a winnable contest. This crass intervention, in my view, will prove to be the single most important factor in driving voters into the "remain" camp.

22:45: If we have lost, the fight goes on. This hasn't been a free and fair fight, but one characterised by a Prime Minister who has elevated political lying to an art form, starting with his faux renegotiation and his non-treaty. I feel no obligation to take this result as final, and will continue to work for an independent Britain.

The immediate task will be to identify the reasons why we lost. The official Vote Leave campaign will already be polishing its excuses, ready to come up with the conclusion that its was everybody else's fault except theirs. Pete North, however, has already published two posts, here and here, looking at some of the problem areas. It will come as not surprise for you to learn that he (rather like his father) is looking to the execrable conduct of the campaign for his answers.

22:15: For what it's worth, I think we're going to lose - a prediction where I sincerely hope I'm wrong. To those I've been talking to privately, I've been saying this consistently throughout the campaign. If there is a poll error (YouGov gives "remain" 52 percent and "leave" 48 percent), I think it will be in understating the margin. I expect there to be at least a ten-point gap, and possibly more - closer to the 1975 result.

Then as you will recall, the result was 67.2 percent in favour of continued membership of the "Common Market", with a turnout of 64.5 percent. The registered electorate at that time was 40,456,886 human beings - plus Ted Heath.

22:05: It's going to be a very long night, says somebody. Is anyone recording the cliché rate (measured in clichés per minute - cps)? This is going to be agony - a procession of talking heads on the idiot's lantern, people who I didn't want to listen to during the campaign, and the very people who have nothing to say to me now.

22:00: Polls closed. Why is it that ITV feels the need to have a moronic drumbeat to accompany its announcements?

19:33: The BBC's Nick Robinson is complaining that the referendum campaign has been a "deeply demoralising experience". Both sides, he says, have acted in a "deeply misleading way". When the campaign is over, he adds: "I don't think that we will look back and think that we had a healthy debate of the issues".

18:02: Even the Metro – via Ben Kelly - can acknowledge "Flexit" (sic). But not the mighty Telegraph.

17:12: Stephen Bush in the New Statesman has just discovered that the splits in society are not defined by left and right – brought to light by a divisive referendum campaign. To us, it is interesting how many times we have to write that "they catch up eventually. We were writing about this stuff in early 2011 and again later the same year. And what we were saying then is just as true now, even if it takes this referendum to make people notice.

15:44: Interesting piece by Allister Heath in the Telgraph. This is Flexcit by any other name, but nicely sanitised so the ideas don't have to be attributed. I'm told I should be pleased that our ideas are at last "getting out there", and of course I am. And you can't patent or copyright such ideas. But, all the same, while we get that warm glow of satisfaction from seeing them in print, having salarymen plagiarise or steal them doesn't pay the bills. Gradually, stage-by-stage, Heath is stealing our work. After a few more articles, he will own it.

14:36: I am not sure I can get my head round the idea of legions of clerks, armed with erasers, secretly rubbing out "leave" votes and replacing them with votes for the other side. However, when it comes to the use of pens, it was instructive to note that we were offered that option at our polling station. I forgot to ask whether one could mark the box in blood … preferably from somebody else.

14:21: "Dougan the Dishonest" has posted a transcript of his little venture into mendacity. And, on the main webpage we are told that he "analyses the substance of each viewpoint and delivers an informed assessment of the UK's potential future position, both as a member of the EU and in the wake of a vote to leave".

That, quite demonstrably, is untrue. Self-evidently, the man is not analysing the substance of each viewpoint. Had that been the case, he would not merely have said of the legal review, "it will have to be done very, very quickly". He would have to have said that "some" (i.e., himself and supporters) thought it would have to be done quickly. Others suggest that it could be done at a more leisurely pace.

Not anywhere, though, is there any attempt to give an assessment of both viewpoints. This is quite clearly advocacy, promoting the "remain" cause.

Then, on the website, we get the disclaimer: "Professor Dougan is an employee of the University of Liverpool. He does not work for, undertake paid consultancy for, or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article". Yet, he is the holder of a Jean Monnet chair, and the post is financed by the European Union. For sure, the money is not paid to Dougan directly. It is paid to the University, and they pay him. Why does the University not see fit to state this? What has it got to hide?

13:23: Just been out to vote. The clerks report they've already done more business than they do in a full day. There were queues waiting to get in at five to seven.

12:44: The Electoral Commission reports that 46,499,537 have registered to vote. Most of them are people. This is a record for a UK poll. Early reports have people queuing to cast their votes.

12:03: On this day, in the year 930, the world's oldest parliament, the Icelandic Parliament, the Alþingi (anglicised as Althing or Althingi), was established. Particularly attractive features of this assembly were that it was held in the open air and the delegates were required to stand throughout the proceedings.

11:21: Latest opinion poll from Ipsos Mori (via Britain elects, on Twitter) has the "remains" on 52 percent (up five points) and the "leaves" on 48 percent (down five points). This is a telephone poll and the "don't knows" have been excluded.

Through the day and into the night, on this historic day, I'll keep a running blog going, adding to is as events demand. In the meantime, you are more than welcome to treat this as an open thread. And I'm glad my part in the event is being recognised, at last. I'll let you into a secret ... this North is voting to leave. The North not in the North will as well. The Norths have it?

Interestingly, the dishonest Dougan spat rumbles on. Last night, we received this (below) from Liverpool University.

000a Liverpool-023 Dougan.jpg

This raises an interesting point, as we are sternly told that, even if we disagree with Dougan's view, it is "honestly held". That, by all accounts, makes him an honest man.

One didn't realise quite the degree to which sophistry is part of the academic's armoury these days, combined with an overweening arrogance that elevates them - in their own minds - to demi-god status, superior to us mere mortals. What they never seem to realise is that some of us have been there before, and might know a little bit more than they do. That never even occurs to them. In their reality, it is probably not even possible.

What Dougan - and his employers - are neglecting is that the brave professor is not a common and garden "ordinary man". He presents himself as an expert, implying that he is independent, setting himself up in judgement over the "leave" campaign.

The thing is, the moment you set yourself up as an "expert", the rules change. On the one hand, you are claiming that special status and demanding that your "expert opinion" be respected. But with that status comes special responsibilities. You are not allowed to retreat behind the defence of ignorance, the ignorance of an ordinary man, and claim protection from the charge of "dishonesty" on the basis that you didn't know. You cannot concede that you may be wrong, "but the views were honestly held", if any real expert could recognise the error.

That is the ordinary man's defence. It is not available to the expert. If you claim expertise, then you are expected to project the state of the art. To claim you are an expert and then not give a rounded, expert opinion - instead offering a limited, partisan view - is in itself dishonest. And, with that in mind, I have replied in these (for me) relatively gentle terms.

000a Liverpool-023 Dougan2.jpg

Dougan, in fact - whether he realises it or not - has stepped off the expert "plinth" and got stuck in the street fight, dishing it out to all and sundry. As such, he cannot claim any special privileges. As an expert, he should have known he was talking rubbish. If he didn't know he was talking rubbish, then he's not an expert. He can't have it both ways.