It’s been a year since 72.2% of UK voters took to the polls with 51.9% voting to leave the European Union and 48.1% voting to Remain.
Remainers will probably remember feeling like they’d been punched in the stomach as the unexpected, knife-edge result defied the polls.
For Eurosceptics the memory might be celebration after years of campaigning to be free of EU restrictions. For other Leave voters, perhaps a different type of shock - “What? My voted actually counted?” (See video above.)
However they voted, most people experienced confusion in the days, and indeed the year since.
But while hearing the word Brexit has become as common as eating breakfast (yup, remember this?) there was a lot of stuff that went down a year ago in the shitstorm that ensued you may have forgotten. 29 in fact.
So, here’s a handy reminder, a year later.
1) There was a conspiracy theory around pencils and pens
As people took to the polls on Thursday 23 June 2016, rumours started circulating that someone would be rubbing out Leave votes written in pencil and switching them to Remain.
This prompted the hashtag #UsePens.
One Leave voter even tweeted a video of police attending following a disagreement about her lending her pen to other voters.
2) A blind 93-year-old woman went viral
Another term that started bizarrely started trending on voting day, was ’93yr mum’. It was finally tracked back to a Twitter user called Keith who had Tweeted “Just took 93yr Mum to vote, she’s registered blind. In a very loud voice she said, “Which box for out?” A cheer went up from waiting voters.”
Twitter had a field day, obviously.
3) Tony Blair got trolled
On referendum day, the former PM announced how he’d voted in a way that delighted Photoshoppers. How could it possibly backfire?
Twitter had another field day.
4) ‘What is the EU?’ became one of the most Googled questions
The question was the second most searched for term with regard to the European Union, according to Google trends.
What’s most worrying though, is that those were the most searched for questions AFTER the results had been announced.
5) Final polls got it totally wrong
It was actually the exact opposite of what the actual result was - with an on-the-day poll predicted 52% would back the UK staying in the EU.
We can’t really blame YouGov for getting it wrong if people weren’t even sure what the EU is, or was, right?
6) People really believed they could change the result
As the UK came to terms with the somewhat unexpected (see polls above) decision to leave the European Union, some (pretty much 48% of voters) believed there could be a second referendum. A petition for the government to hold a second referendum on Brexit proved so popular it temporarily crashed the parliament website.
Richard Branson was among celebrities who backed it.
It was actually set up before the referendum by Brexiter. He was annoyed when it was hijacked by the opposition.
It eventually gained more than FOUR MILLION signatures.
7) #notinmyname and #TheIndecentMinority massively trended
OK, so we know 48% were dissatisfied with the outcome but do you remember this Twitter trend?
On the morning of the result, people who were pro-EU used the hashtag to voice their frustrations.
Meanwhile JK Rowling was among remainers who said they were proud to be in Nigel Farage’s ‘indecent minority’ after he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: It’s a fantastic day and it’s a victory not for me… but for ordinary, decent people who’ve taken on the establishment and won.”
Guardian columnist Marina Hyde retweeted Farage’s words, pointing out they appeared to imply: “Remainers you are extraordinarily indecent.”
And of course this sparked a trend spearheaded by Rowling.
8) London tried to join the EU
In London, where 59.9% (2.26 million) voted Remain, people actually started calling for the capital’s independence.
“Can London” made it into the Twitter trends on 24 June as Londoners began pleading for their own independence.
It later gained credence when it was seriously touted by a Labour lord.
In Scotland where the Remain vote was 62% to Leave’s 38%, Nicola Sturgeon said she and London Mayor Sadiq Khan shared the same view about their areas remaining in EU.
She said: “I have also spoken this morning with Sadiq Khan and he is clear that he shares this objective for London, so there is clear common cause between us.”
London, nor Scotland, became independent.
9) Boris Johnson got called a c*** on live television
Cyclists vented their anger at the former mayor in the wake of the result by gathering outside his home to jeer and boo him.
Kay Burley was live on Sky News when someone’s four-lettered expletive was captured on camera.
10) Thousands marched for the EU - despite event being cancelled
Anti-Brexit slogans were chanted and pro-EU love songs sung by a sea of blue and yellow as thousands of EU supporters marched to Parliament to peacefully protest Brexit.
The scheduled London Stays rally had actually been cancelled over safety concerns. But in true British spirit, LOADS of people formed a giant queue and snaked to Trafalgar Square anyway.
HuffPost UK went along and filmed it. Explore the 360 degree video here.
11) Cornwall made demands - despite voting Leave
Meanwhile, in Cornwall the leader of the council demanded the UK Government replace the £60million a year of EU support it would lose as a result of the Brexit vote - despite the county voting to Leave the EU.
12) Gary Lineker’s Tweet about Nigel Farage proved popular
13) Farage angered even more people with his ‘insensitive’ comment
The Brexit kingpin pissed people off yet again when he claimed the Leave vote was won “without a single bullet being fired” just days after the murder of Jo Cox.
14) Frankie Boyle summed up the ‘absolute despair’ of Remain voters
Here’s a selection of the series of withering Tweets. More here.
15) Some Leave voters were shocked their vote actually counted
A Leave voter pissed people off when he admitted on national television he hadn’t thought his ballot would matter and was shocked Brexit was actually going to happen.
As the video at the top shows, Adam said: “I’m a bit shocked to be honest.
“I’m shocked that we voted for Leave, I didn’t think that was going to happen.
“I didn’t think my vote was going to matter too much because I thought we were just going to remain.”
16) More Leave voters started regretting their vote
More and more people started admitting they regretted voting Leave with many claiming that they never intended to leave but simply wanted to “protest”.
17) Everyone was sharing this ‘Yes Minister’ clip
The clip from the 1980s BBC Comedy shows Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby explaining to minister Jim Hacker why the UK has such a tumultuous relationship with the EU.
As the video shows, he says: “We had to break the whole thing up, so we had to get inside.
“We tried to break it up from the outside, but that wouldn’t work. Now that we’re inside we can make a complete pig’s breakfast of the whole thing.”
The line clearly struck a chord.
18) A ‘classic’ meme was revamped and shared
The meme from Hitler film ‘Downfall’ was another viral video on referendum results day after it was re-worked to poke fun at the result.
19) Fox News thought we’d voted to leave the UN
The result got slightly skewed by Fox News, when they confused the European Union with the United Nations.
But then, again it was the same network that claimed Birmingham was a Muslim-only city.
20) A pro-Brexit MP said ‘There is no plan’
Sky News political editor Faisal Islam was left speechless after claiming a Conservative pro-Brexit MP told him the Leave campaign “didn’t have a plan” for Brexit and “number 10 should have had one”.
Presenter Anna Botting didn’t know what to say after a stunned Islam revealed a Tory MP told him “there is no plan” following the result.
21 ) The Leave campaign u-turned on some REALLY IMPORTANT ISSUES
Just as the dust was settling after the referendum, there was some hasty backtracking from the Leave campaign in the days that followed.
Most people know about the infamous ‘£350m saving for the NHS’, which proved to be absolutely bullshit, but here’s some backtracking on immigration. Evan Davis was NOT happy.
22) One Leave Voter voted Leave to ‘stop Muslims coming into the UK’
Across the channels, Channel Four News found one of many people who were clearly so confused by the mixed messages of the campaign they thought leaving the EU would stop Muslims coming into the country.
Unfortunately it was a view shared by others.
23) Hate crimes reported to police increased by 57%
Remember, all that nasty post-Brexit racism. Uh-huh... Sadly the dawn of the Brexit result meant a load of xenophobic morons thought it gave them permission to reveal their prejudices and in some cases act upon them.
Days after the referendum, the National Police Chiefs’ Council revealed hate crimes reported to police rose 57% in the four days from the vote compared to four weeks before.
24) People starting wearing safety pins
Really nice, but pretty crazy all the same.
In the wake of a surge in hate crime mentioned above, Brits showed solidarity to victims of post-Brexit racism and immigrants wearing a simple safety pin.
The campaign started by a Twitter user called Allison was set up so anyone who felt threatened could easily identify a safe ally to turn to.
25) Nigel Farage gave a horribly smug speech
The then-Ukip leader was heckled and left politicians with their heads in their hands as he spoke to the European Parliament for the first time since the vote.
Re-live it here, if you bear it.
26) Boris Johnson made an unexpected Pornhub debut - fully clothed
A video of BoJo was uploaded to the internet’s biggest porn website, titled ‘Dumb British blond f**ks 15 million people at once.’
27) Michael Gove f**ked Boris over
Two days before Britain went to the polls, key ‘Leave’ figurehead Michael Gove hinted he might quit as justice secretary if the country voted ‘Remain’. When asked about it, he said: “Of course, depending on what the result is on Friday I will reflect and I will decide what is the best course for me.”
Had the result been the other way, Gove might have slipped into the shadows but he got the result he wanted. So the man who called the Referendum in the first place Prime Minister David Cameron quit later that day.
Career politicians came out of the woodwork in the leadership race. Gove originally backed frontrunner BoJo as his campaign manager but then made a last minute bid to become PM.
As Boris chose not to run, Gove denied stabbing him in the back.
Four other candidates came forward Andrea Leadsom, Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox and Theresa May. In the first-round ballot Fox was eliminated while Crabb subsequently withdrew. Gove was knocked out in the next round before Leadsom withdrew from the race on 11 July. May became PM two days later.
28) David Cameron made Larry the Cat the star of his last day as PM
Bizarrely, Cameron used his last PMQs to praise his feline pal, telling Commons colleagues: “I love Larry, but I can’t take him with me”, producing a photo of himself with the animal.
He later Tweeted this pic.
29) Donald Trump said Leaving EU was ‘a great thing’ but also said Scotland voted to take ‘their country back’
Back to the day after the referendum, the Republican was actually in the UK on the day of the result. He said it is a “great thing” that the people of the UK had “taken back their country” as he visited his Scottish golf resort.
He also got ripped to pieces when he Tweeted the same day that Scotland had “taken their country back, just like we will take America back.”
A year ago, Donald Trump was not US President. Oh, how times have changed.