A year ago tomorrow, Britain politely ignored its leaders’ advice and instructed them to withdraw from the EU. I remember starting the day in a cheerful mood. In my little Hampshire village, a jeep was parked opposite the polling station with a huge “Vote Leave” trailer. Several local people caught my eye as they voted, smiling and sometimes raising their thumbs. I cast my ballot, feeling as optimistic as I have ever felt about anything in my life, kissed my heavily pregnant wife, took her hand and walked happily out of the church hall and into the long June day.
All the clever-clogs were, at that stage, assuring each other that the result was a dead cert. The bookies’ odds translated into an 82 per cent probability of a Remain vote – a ridiculous figure in any two-horse race, and one that bore no relation to the opinion polls. I knew how good the team at Vote Leave was, and how dedicated: many of them had barely had a Sunday off since Christmas. Our knocking-up operation had begun the previous Saturday, and the reports were positive. I didn’t know which way the result would go; but I knew it would be narrow.
Here is what I wrote on this website on the day of the vote:
“I have no idea which side will win. But one thing that seems clear is that it will be close. The losing side will represent a minority, but a large minority. In a democracy, large minorities can’t be ignored.”
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