Thursday will go down in history as day that changed Europe – but not for the better. The consequences of this referendum will be felt not just in the UK for many years to come but in the rest of Europe too.
Already it is having an impact. Sterling has crashed to a 30-year low and £122 billion has been wiped off the FTSE. Overnight, Britain fell from having the fifth largest economy in the world to the sixth, behind France.
Damon and I were at the count in Brighton and Hove on Thursday. Representing the Stronger In campaign, we watched as the ballot papers were counted, separated into Remain and Leave piles and then counted again. I’m pleased to say that the city voted by 69% to remain.
On the TV screens, however, we could see a different story unfolding elsewhere in the country. Ignorance and intolerance won the day.
What does the out vote mean for our future plans? Perhaps it’s too early to say.
One of the most likely options for the UK is to adopt a Norwegian or Swiss-style relationship with the EU. What voters don’t yet realise, I suspect, is that this option involves continuing to pay into the EU budget, accepting free movement of people and adopting trade rules that we have had no say in. Frankly, I can’t see how that’s better than what we had.
However, at least it will mean Damon and I can carry on preparing for our move to France. Failing that, Damon might be able to apply for Irish nationality, because one set of his grandparents were Irish, so he can still be an EU citizen.
“We were at the count in Brighton and Hove on Thursday. I’m pleased to say that the city voted by 69% to remain”
What does it mean for our British friends who live in France? What happens to their rights to healthcare, for example? Certainly, they will feel the pinch of the falling pound in their purses. They must be very concerned for the future.
Worse, Thursday night’s result has emboldened other far-right figures in Europe. In France, for example, Marine Le Pen has called for Frexit.
A snowballing lurch to the far right is a worry for humanity the world over.