Today Britain goes to the polls to decide on its European Union membership in the long-awaited referendum. The results should be in tomorrow morning with the UK deciding on whether to stay European or go it alone.
The banks are on high alert for a run on the pound, the media is confused and the pollsters are being cautious as Britain has been split by the referendum. This is the first UK referendum in 41 years – the last was on EU membership back in 1975, and was supposed to be the last one ever to be held.
The fishing industry has been firmly behind the Leave movement. Fisheries Minister George Eustice threw in his lot with the Brexit faction and has been an energetic campaigner for leaving the EU, while DEFRA’s position is solidly in favour of remaining.
Whatever the outcome, the result is going to be dramatic for UK politics as the Leave-Remain divide has split the ruling Conservative party. There are prominent figures on each side whose political lives may be ended once the votes have been counted.
There have been several flotillas of fishing vessels campaigning to leave the EU – including the Thames flotilla last week that included the spectacle of a loudhailer argument between Bob Geldof, now cast in the role of the fishing industry’s latest hate figure, and UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
There have been flotillas on the Humber and in Newlyn, while a planned Clyde flotilla demonstration was cancelled in the wake of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.
It has been a tough few months as campaigning has been ratcheted up. It hasn’t been a clean campaign on either side, with both Leave and Remain camps unashamedly playing the fear card and no shortage of misinformation and spin on both sides.
We’ll find out tomorrow whether Britain remains part of Europe, or decides to step into largely unknown territory that entails doom and disaster (according to the Remain side) or wealth and prosperity (according to the Leave side).
Watch this space…