Scotland will remain part of the 307-year-old United Kingdom by margin of fifty-five percent to forty-five percent of the vote. Turnout for the historic Scottish referendum was extremely high, with eighty-six percent of the electorate casting a ballot. With more than 2.5 million votes counted.
Despite the no vote, Scotland is promised more autonomy in their own affairs. David Cameron is preparing to announce a major devolution of powers to England following the Scottish independence referendum result.
Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, conceded defeat to the Yes campaign. Salmond said in his concession speech, “in accordance with clause 30 of the Edinburgh agreement,” he will accept the result and work with London in the best interests of Scotland and the rest of the UK.”
However, the leader of the pro-independence campaign said the 1.6 million votes cast for the ‘Yes’ campaign represented a substantial vote for Scottish independence at some time in the future. The unionist parties made promise. They promised the second reading of a Scotland bill by 27 March. The Scots will expect that promise to be honored, Salmond says.
Better Together leader Alistair Darling says, “Today is a momentous result for Scotland but also for the United kingdom as a whole.”
“We must also recognize the debate has created some deep divisions in our country. It has been a campaign that has energized and divided.”
Mr. Darling ended his speech by saying, “Come on Scotland, let’s get on with it together.”
An extraordinary night. Humbled by the level of support and the efforts of our volunteers. Will give speech in Glasgow shortly. #indyref
— Alistair Darling (@TogetherDarling) September 19, 2014
The three biggest UK-wide political parties – The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats – agree that further devolution of powers to Holyrood must take place. During the referendum campaign, the parties signed a pledge to devolve more powers to Scotland, if the Scots rejected independence.
The status quo has now changed. The seismic referendum vote will no doubt change many things in the United Kingdom. Talks of a federal government like the United States of America or Germany lingers on.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said he has delivered on devolution in this parliament and the three UK parties will take it forward in the next parliament.
Lord Smith of Kelvin, who oversaw the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, will oversee this process too. There will be agreement by November, and draft legislation by January.
Prime Minister Cameron declared England needs a fair solution too. The West Lothian question (why should Scottish MP vote on English matters when English MP’s can’t vote on Scottish ones?) needs an answer.
William Hague will set up a cabinet committee on this. He hopes the other parties will contribute.
He also wants to give more power to cities. He will say more about this in coming days. Cameron concludes saying it is time to move forward to a better future.
[Image via Flickr]