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Scotland Says NO

The 18th of September 2014 AD

t’s a rare thing for the British people to be given any real say in the way we are governed. Scotland had that opportunity on September 18th 2014, and if not overwhelmingly, then with a very clear margin, chose to remain part of the UK. Scotland, like the computer, says no. Perhaps in the end it was a case of ‘the devil you know’ winning the argument, given such significant questions as the future currency of the putative independent Scotland, and its place or otherwise in the EU, were never convincingly answered by Alex Salmond and his team.

Alistair Darling who headed the nay sayers never failed to remind TV viewers and Today listeners of those uncertainties, and they may have told in the end.
Differences between regions and cities were highlighted, Glasgow very much for independence and Edinburgh and Aberdeen against, for example. Divisions were not just geographic but familial at times, many husbands and wives of differing conviction. It is to be hoped that the battle leaves no lasting scars on relationships political and intimate. It’s also to be hoped that the energy and the involvement seen during the campaign can be harnessed to strengthen democracy in Scotland and by extension the rest of the UK.

When people had a real outcome to vote on – rather than for Tweedledum or his equally out of touch and hermetically sealed within the Westminster bubble opponent Tweedledee – they came out in droves, the turnout well above 80 per cent.

The aftermath of the no vote includes how on earth the government and in this case its allies Liberal and Labour will make good on their promises about devolved powers not just for Scotland but for the other components of the UK, with a timetable fixed by David Cameron that gives precious little time for reflection. The Dangerous Dogs Act’s younger cousin The Dangerous Devolution Act is expected by many to be the outcome. The West Lothian Question, a conundrum unsolved for at least two generations, has to be dealt with in six months.

An intriguing side issue, albeit minor in the great scheme of things, was how major political figures showed up in the independence issue. Gordon Brown, the forgotten man of British politics, did extraordinarily well in the debates and campaign. Ed Miliband, typically, made no impact, shrinking further by comparison with the passionate Brown and the effective Darling. David Cameron fared little better. The UK may have been rendered more secure, Cameron and Miliband less so as leaders of their parties.

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