Friday, 24 June 2016

We voted Leave and this is my personal experience

Last night (and into the early hours of this morning) I had the privilege of witnessing history being made. I nervously paced the counting hall at Telford, knowing that my branch would be something of a bell weather as one of the top 20 Eurosceptic local authority areas in the country.

We went into the count expecting to win in Telford but lose the referendum. Feedback from Vote Leave suggested large turnouts in Scotland and London which is a disaster for anyone other than what Nigel Farage often describes as the metropolitan liberal elite. That and other tidbits of information pointed to an impressive Leave vote but a convincing lead for Remain.

Just by watching the verification count it was obvious that we had won in Telford by a wide margin and the final result showed a 63% Leave vote on a 72% turnout. But what was interesting was the results from elsewhere in the country. The turnout in London and Scotland wasn't as high as expected and the Leave vote was not just holding up but very gradually nudging ahead. The metropolitan councils hadn't declared but we were finding it harder to convince ourselves that we didn't have a chance.

After we had finished in Telford I headed to Shrewsbury for the Shropshire Council results, expected to be one of the last to declare. As I was driving to Shrewsbury I heard Professor Curtis say that Leave was, in his opinion, the favourite to win. Sky had already called it for Leave but it was far from certain.

While we waited for the recounts to finish at Shrewsbury more results from round the country were coming in and Leave was steaming ahead. ITV and the BBC called it for Leave and Nigel Farage claimed victory.

I can't begin to describe the feeling of relief and excitement when we realised that we had won and would be leaving the EU. Even now, some 17 hours after accepting that we'd won I still have this overpowering sense of disbelief that we have  secured the result myself and thousands of others have worked so hard to achieve.

There have been some stock market and currency jitters as expected but nothing on the scale the Remainiacs predicted and both the pound and the FTSE are back to where they were a fortnight ago. The bond markets - a much better indicator of investor confidence - are performing admirably with record low yields, indicating a high degree of confidence in the UK's ability to pay its debts.

I'd like to personal thank everyone who went out and voted Leave yesterday. I'd also like to genuinely offer my condolences to those who voted Remain. That feeling they have now of despair and disappointment is certainly familiar to any UKIP activist. I really do know how you feel. However, you do need to take a leaf out of UKIP's book and learn to take defeat with some dignity.