I guess people need to mourn their defeats, but flicking around various TV channels’ coverage the comment that staggered me most was that of the prominent English historian, Simon Schama, who declared – well before the result was clear – “if Leave wins, it will be a repudiation of knowledge; a repudiation of reality’.
Or simply, perhaps, just a choice by UK voters to have their country governed by their own MPs, their laws interpreted and applied by their own judges, and so on. Rather like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, or the United States. Many other commentators have seen the vote as a vote against the Establishment, which is no doubt true in part – as the election of Jeremy Corbyn was, and perhaps the success of date of Donald Trump has been – but if so, comments like those of Schama, totally dismissive of the choices of his fellow citizens, might go down as a classic example of the sort of attitude and approach that many saw encapsulated in the EU model, and the way in which too many countries have been governed in recent years.
The market reactions so far seem hardly that surprising – except perhaps in highlighting the bounded rationality that had left so many (I was among them) almost unable to believe that, even though the polls had been a dead-heat for weeks, a Leave vote could actually happen.
The headline fall in the value of sterling is striking – currently down 9.9 per cent against the USD. But it brought back memories of the wild days of the New Zealand foreign exchange market, especially in the early years after the 1985 float. But as recently as 28 October 2008, the NZD was down 9.3 per cent in a day (and more like 12 per cent against the yen). The trend was strongly down in that global crisis and recession, but there was also a sharp bounce the following day. I recall watching CNBC each evening during the 08/09 crisis. It might be another few days for that – and to be glad it is “spectator sport” rather than something I have direct exposure to.
UPDATE: I thought this piece by US economics columnist Megan McArdle was a very nice articulation of views I share almost entirely.
UPDATE 2: An absolutely fascinating set of results from exit-polling of referendum voters