This Brexit just got real: Referendum Live Blog

As of 4:20am on Friday 24th June 2016, British politics has gone mad. The Prime Minister has resigned, the opposition is in a state of civil war and the referendum has split the nation. It's even possible that leading Brexiters Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have won when they really planned to lose. The result is political chaos which will take months if not years to sort out, and maybe the best policy is to laugh at how stupid it all is. So here are my collected thoughts on the subject from election night onwards, as I stayed up to watch the whole thing unfold and then visited Westminster on Friday evening, hours after Brexit became a reality. I'll keep adding to this page as we go (wherever that is...).

Thursday 23 June

This was what the BBC chose to do to its Broadcasting House headquarters on the evening of the result. You know that house near you which always goes a bit OTT with the Christmas lights...?

Meanwhile, inside the BBC studio things were far more sensible: in the event that Remain won and free movement across Europe continued, TV analyst Jeremy Vine seemed to have worked out how to house everyone. 

11:16pm By this point I knew it really was a very strange evening, because I jolted myself out of a reverie and realised that I've been watching the ITV coverage. Usually there's no contest - election night, the BBC and Dimbleby are exact synonyms. But the Beeb's effort seemed even more tired than most viewers, while ITV's high-profile signing of news Galacticos like Robert Peston and Allegra Stratton definitely paid off - it was their best effort in years. This isn't funny, but the ITV coverage usually is so I thought this was worth a mention.

Friday 24th June

12:08am Newsnight's political editor Nick Watt accidentally coined the perfect word to describe not just the results show but the whole four-month campaign: Neverendum. I might trademark that.

12:13am By this point in the evening, anyone supporting #Remain was muttering this:

12:57am The result might not be clear yet but one thing definitely is: election night is way more exciting without an exit poll. Why can't we let the democratic process unfold in its traditional way like this every time? Professor John Curtice is a dude and a very clever one at that, but he's also a walking spoiler alert. Keep your polls to yourself, JC. Dirty Taps covers this in more detail in reference to the 2015 General Election.

1:17am A piece of advice for politicians: on election night, if Paddy Ashdown is on your side lock him somewhere secluded and throw away the key. He's human kryptonite.

1:36am Leave was just ahead in the overall count at this point, but there was a small crumb of comfort for Remain fans: at this point the Leavers only had 3% of the votes they needed to win. Of course, this was soon to change.

1:39am This was when one of the strangest aspects of a very strange night arrived: it emerged that Lindsay Lohan (for it is she) was watching the results show at home and live-tweeting it to her 9.29 million Twitter followers. She'll be guesting on This Week with Andrew Neil before you can say "Michael Choo Choo Portillo", mark my words.

02:06am How about a rematch?

02:07am By this point things were getting really serious. I'd had three cups of tea but it was time to cook the remaining chocolate Gu pudding in the fridge. This quickly proved to be an excellent move.

02:14am Surely it's all over for Remain. Their voters are being individually named:

03:14am The BBC commentators aren't really mentioning it but Brexit is making its move. In Boat Race terms they're up to 40 strokes a minute and on a surge. Would it be too much to ask for a mad Australian to jump in and stop the race?

03:52am I hear you're a racist now, Britain. How did you get interested in that type of thing?

04:05am Nigel Farage makes a (slightly preeemptive) victory speech in which he proclaims "Dawn is breaking", although it smells more like wind.

Robert Peston's Freudian tweet

08:30am O tempora o morons.

10:32am Always take precautions. I did wonder have a feeling in my bones on Thursday that Brexit might happen, not least when my Spotify shuffle decided to play "Blaze of Glory" as soon as I left the Wood Green polling station, so I had a quick look at Paddy Power and decided to put a few quid on Brexit at 6/1. These were ludicrous odds for any two-horse race, and so it proved. So I ended up about £100 up. Basically I'm the British version of Christian Bale's character from The Big Short. Maybe. If only Mark Carney and the Bank of England had had the same idea, the UK economy would be saved. It's just a shame the value of the pound has fallen through the floor, but you can't have everything. 

04:32pm Is it all over for the Remainers? I threw this little idea out onto Twitter, and it got a little bit of traction. Watch this space...

06:28pm I don't know if you experienced anything similar, but the atmosphere in the office was peculiar all day and nobody was really in the mood for work. Once the day was over my curiosity got the better of me and I thought I should go check out the Westminster circus, so I walked over to Parliament. Here are a few things I spotted:

Crowds at Downing Street.

Crowds at Downing Street.

A sneak peak into Dave's darkest day.

A sneak peak into Dave's darkest day.

I wasn't sure if this guy was waving it or selling it.

I wasn't sure if this guy was waving it or selling it.

We are the future? Surely that would be "We will be".

We are the future? Surely that would be "We will be".

And so it begins.

And so it begins.

Nigel's army doing a lap of honour...

Nigel's army doing a lap of honour...

Channel 4 News incarnate.

Channel 4 News incarnate.

Strangely forlorn.

Strangely forlorn.

This was the scene at London Bridge. 

This was the scene at London Bridge. 

Saturday 25th June

11:34am Today's Daily Mail front page. One thing we can probably all agree on the word incomparable:

11:37am So far this morning Iain Duncan Smith has all but confirmed the £350 million Brexit pledge is nonsense, the Labour Party is in meltdown with the shadow cabinet resigning at the rate of 2 an hour, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been missing for 3 days. The quality of politicians on all sides right now reminds me of the time when the linchpin of England's midfield was Carlton Palmer.

2:30pm This is the smile of a man who had a mutton vindaloo for lunch and now remembers that his toilet isn't working;

Monday 27 June

09:14am Jeremy Corbyn has announced his reshuffled shadow cabinet, smashing his own personal best time by a full 7 days. But then again, once most of the deckchairs had plopped into the icy Atlantic it was probably easier to arrange the rest.

Jon HarveyComment