Bad luck, Alex Salmond. Looks like the people weren’t quite ready for independence just yet. With an unprecedented 84.5% turnout from a franchise extended for the first time to sixteen year olds, the “No” vote won by a point margin of 10.6% – more than they’d been hoping for, no doubt, but still not a hugely substantial lead.
The final result stood at 45% to 55%, and everyone in Westminster breathed a sigh of relief – David Cameron especially, one would imagine, considering that his chances of remaining the Conservative Party leader in the event of a “Yes” result were practically nil. Alex Salmond, though, is no doubt feeling far from pleased with the result. His party – criticised for a long time as being a single-issue party much like UKIP or the Greens – has lost the cause they’d been fighting for, and one has to wonder what the future holds for them, now that the people have rejected their ideas of a bright, Nationalistic future.
However, they may still seize on Westminster’s promise for greater devolved powers – the brainchild of ex-PM Gordon Brown, who cast his own “No” yesterday, and who this victory, it could be easily argued, truly belongs to. If this is the case, negotiations on what, exactly, “greater devolved powers” really means will no doubt make for interesting changes to the UK, especially with regard to the West Lothian question. After all, if a Scottish Parliament becomes solely responsible for Scottish laws, but Scottish MPs can still vote on English issues, it won’t be our friends in the north complaining about democratic deficit. As it stands, England is the only country in the UK without its own Parliament – could Scotland’s demand for reform change that? It seems unlikely, at least, that Wales and Northern Ireland won’t soon be speaking up for more power.
All in all, even if this referendum will be dubbed a failure by some on the “Yes” campaign, at least one good thing has come of it – people in this “family of nations” are finally taking a serious interest in politics. Actually, perhaps there’s something else, too – it seems that Piers Morgan has honoured the promise he made on Sunday to leave if Scotland said no.
– Lana Wrigley, A2 Politics.