Although at the time of writing this, there were still two counts to be declared, the leave vote was sufficiently large for the result to be clear and in crude terms, with a turn out in excess of 70 per cent, 52 per cent voted to leave whilst 48 per cent voted to stay which means in actual numbers just under 16 million voted to stay whilst just over 17 million voted to leave.
Voting was very much on regional grounds with the majority of Southerners and Scots voting to remain whilst the majority of voters in the Midlands and North of England voting to leave.
The pound was immediately hit and dropped to its lowest level against the dollar for some 30 years, and it seems likely that the stock market will see some fairly drastic results during the day.
Nigel Farage, who has helped to ensure that he will be out of a job as an MEP within a couple of years was clearly delighted, claiming that Britain had voted for ‘Independence Day’ whilst those who had been campaigning for Britain to remain appeared devastated and in shock.
Conservative Brexiters such as Boris Johnson and Michael Gove signed a letter sent to the Prime Minister urging him to remain in his role regardless of the result and not to take any immediate and rash action but to enter the leaving negotiations calmly and with purpose.
In contrast Nigel Farage called for him to resign immediately!
The next step will be for the government to decide when to invoke article 50 of the Treaty in which Britain officially informs the Union of its intention to leave and there will then be a two-year period whereby Britain continues to be part of the EU but without certain voting rights whilst it negotiates with the other 27 members.
As this situation has never previously existed, the next few years will be something of a major step into the dark, as Britain also has to negotiate new trade and visa deals with other non-member states.
Many European leaders and bureaucrats must be worried about their positions as this could be the first of a number of defections, and like a house of cards, the entire EU could collapse as could the United Kingdom, should Scotland now demand a further vote on Independence.
In the meantime, Gibraltar, which was the first place to announce its almost unanimous remain vote will be wondering what will happen in Sundays Spanish election as if the interim government does manage to hold onto power, then it has promised to renew its demand for joint sovereignty, which the British Government has always previously rejected. Who knows, however, what will happen as negotiations for trade and immigration commence?
It’s not the end of the world, but it is the end of the world as we know it.