Judging from the reports of people regretting their Leave vote now that they have witnessed the predicted sharp decline in the pound and the near collapse of the stock markets, it seems that my mistake was to overestimate the intelligence of some of the Leave voters. 'We didn't know this would happen' some are reported to have complained. They were told, of course, repeatedly, but they chose to believe Batty Boris and Nigel the snake oil salesman instead. There are also some who have said that they were so convinced the Remain side would win anyway that they decided to use their vote as a protest even though they did not actually support the Leave side. A few surveys have suggested the number of regretful Leave voters could range from 4% to 40%. The higher figure is implausible, but even the lower one would have been enough to swing it the other way.
Dafter still are the reasons some people gave as to why they used their referendum vote as a 'protest' about other issues, real or imagined. 'This is the first time we've had a say about anything,' some asserted. But hang on a minute, we had a general election last year that had a lower turnout than the referendum, and in many of those areas that voted Leave there is usually a turnout in local elections of around 30% or less. They had a say then but most of them chose not to use it.
It just goes to show the dangers of voting (or not voting) frivolously. It reminds me of what happened in France in the 2002 Presidential elections. There are two rounds in French Presidential elections, with the two top candidates in the first round going on to the second. In the first round there were a multitude of mad parties, and many students and leftists thought it would be fun to vote for various Trotskyist, Maoists and others, intending to revert to the official Socialist candidate in the second round 'We're such crazy people' they giggled in that surrealist way of theirs. But the leftist vote was so split that the two top candidates turned out to be Chirac, the Gaullist, and Le Pen, the leader of the far right National Front. So all those leftists then had to vote for their arch-enemy, Chirac, to keep out Le Pen.
And here too people were using their referendum vote for all sorts of other reasons, losing sight of the central issue. Those ‘patriots’ have also probably voted for the break up of the United Kingdom as the Scots and Northern Irish voted to stay in the EU. Unintended consequences abound. There are lessons here both for voters and those who call referendums, especially referendums (yes, I know it should be 'referenda', but that sounds just too pretentious) that were never really necessary in the first place.
On a slightly brighter note, after voting on Thursday I took it in my head to go into town and buy a portion of the Canadian dollars I’ll need for my holiday in September, just in case Leave won. It turned out to be a good call. At least I've cut my losses to the tune of eighty Canadian dollars (and rising). So a little victory at least! It was not entirely for selfish reasons, because knowing my luck my buying my currency early will guarantee a huge increase in the pound by September. Or maybe not.