NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Scotland says no to independence, yes to the United Kingdom in historic vote

After months of cam­paign­ing lead­ing up to an unprece­dent­ed, his­to­ry-mak­ing ref­er­en­dum on their coun­try’s future, the peo­ple of Scot­land have said no to inde­pen­dence and cho­sen to remain a part of the Unit­ed King­dom, accord­ing to unof­fi­cial counts released in thir­ty-one of thir­ty-two local juris­dic­tions.

As of around 10:30 PM Pacif­ic Time on Thurs­day Sep­tem­ber 18th (Sep­tem­ber 19th British Time), the vote against inde­pen­dence stood at 1,914,187 (55%) and the vote for inde­pen­dence was 1,539,920 (44.58%). Turnout across Scot­land was well above eighty per­cent, set­ting a new record for a stand­alone elec­tion.

The Bet­ter Togeth­er (No) cam­paign clinched its vic­to­ry with the dec­la­ra­tion of the vote in Fife, where 44.95% of vot­ers favored inde­pen­dence and 55.05% were opposed, almost exact­ly mir­ror­ing Scot­land as a whole.

Scot­land’s two largest cities were divid­ed on the ques­tion of inde­pen­dence. Glas­gow, the largest, vot­ed for an inde­pen­dent Scot­land, while Edin­burgh vot­ed to stay with the Unit­ed King­dom. Dundee City, North Lanark­shire, and West Dun­bar­ton­shire also vot­ed for inde­pen­dence. But all the oth­er coun­cils vot­ed no.

(The coun­cil of High­land, which is geo­graph­i­cal­ly very large but some­what small in terms of pop­u­la­tion, has yet to report any results.)

Scot­tish First Min­is­ter Alex Salmond, the face of the cam­paign for inde­pen­dence, stood before his sup­port­ers in Edin­burgh to con­cede and remind the U.K.‘s fed­er­al par­ties (the Con­ser­v­a­tives, Lib­er­al Democ­rats, and Labour) that his con­stituents would hold them to their pledges to grant it increased auton­o­my.

“The union­ist par­ties made vows late in the cam­paign to devolve more pow­ers to Scot­land,” Salmond not­ed dur­ing his remarks.

“Scot­land will expect these to be hon­oured in rapid course. As a reminder, we have been promised a sec­ond read­ing of a Scot­land Bill by March 27th next year… All Scots who par­tic­i­pat­ed in this ref­er­en­dum will demand that timetable is fol­lowed.”

A short time lat­er, Bet­ter Togeth­er leader Alis­tair Dar­ling stood before his exu­ber­ant sup­port­ers in Glas­gow to thank them and cel­e­brate vic­to­ry.

“The peo­ple of Scot­land have spo­ken. We have cho­sen uni­ty over divi­sion,” Dar­ling said. Address­ing the elat­ed Bet­ter Togeth­er vol­un­teers, he declared, “You rep­re­sent the major­i­ty of opin­ion and your voic­es have been heard.”

He was inter­rupt­ed remarks sev­er­al times with rau­cous applause. “We’ve tak­en on the argu­ment and we’ve won. The silent have spo­ken.”

(The Scots­man has post­ed Dar­ling’s remarks in their entire­ty.)

On news of the out­come, the pound ster­ling jumped dra­mat­i­cal­ly against the dol­lar and the euro, reflect­ing a sense of relief from abroad that the Unit­ed King­dom would not be break­ing up with­in the next year and a half.

U.K. Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron has said he will address the nation short­ly (he already called Alis­tair Dar­ling to con­grat­u­late the No cam­paign), and Buck­ing­ham Palace has con­firmed that Her Majesty Queen Eliz­a­beth II will issue a state­ment com­ment­ing on the results as well. The queen, who is sup­posed to be above pol­i­tics, took no pub­lic or offi­cial posi­tion on the ref­er­en­dum, though com­men­ta­tors have sug­gest­ed that Britain’s roy­al fam­i­ly was pri­vate­ly hop­ing for a no vote.

UPDATE: David Cameron has deliv­ered a state­ment in front of Num­ber Ten Down­ing Street, prais­ing the out­come of the vote and promis­ing to deliv­er on promis­es to grant Scot­land more auton­o­my with­in the next year. He also stressed that the Unit­ed King­dom’s oth­er nations (Wales, Eng­land, North­ern Ire­land) should also have a greater say in the man­age­ment of their affairs.

Cameron also tweet­ed, “I’ve just spo­ken to Alex Salmond, con­grat­u­lat­ing him on a hard-fought cam­paign. I’m delight­ed the SNP will join talks on fur­ther devo­lu­tion.”

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