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Scotland says ‘No’ to independence in historic referendum

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From Aditi Khanna

London/Edinburgh, Sep 19 (PTI) Scottish voters today said a big “No” to independence and decided to stay in the 307-year-old union with England and Wales after a historic referendum that brought out bitter divisions while paving the way for a ‘devolution revolution’ in the UK.

The pro-independence camp was decisively defeated with over 55 per cent of Scotland voting to remain in the UK. The results were in from all 32 council areas and the “No” side won with 2,001,926 votes over 1,617,989 for “Yes”.

The margin of victory for the ‘Better Together’ campaign -? 55.3 per cent to 44.7 per cent — was far greater than anticipated by the final opinion polls which said the referendum was on knife edge.

After a bitter campaign with both camps upping the ante in the final weeks ahead of the referendum, turnout was 84.6 per cent — the highest ever for an election in Britain.

David Cameron declared a “clear result” in the referendum after Scotland voted by a 10.6 per cent margin against ending the 307-year-old union with England and Wales.

The Prime Minister promised a ‘devolution revolution’ across Great Britain, including votes on English issues by English MPs at Westminster, as he hailed the Scottish people’s decision to remain inside the UK.

“Like millions of other people, I am delighted. As I said during the campaign it would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end,” a relieved Cameron said in a statement outside his 10 Downing Street office in London.

“Just as the people of Scotland will have more powers over their affairs, so it follows that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland must have a bigger say over theirs,” he said.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond called for unity and urged the unionist parties to deliver on more powers.

“I accept that verdict of the people and I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland,” the leader of the Scottish National Party said.

“Let’s not dwell on the distance we’ve fallen short — let us dwell on the distance we have travelled,” he tweeted.

“My feeling was just crushing, quite devastating,” said 16-year-old Charlotte Darroch, who was watching the count in Edinburgh in her school uniform pinned with lots of “Yes” badges and a Scottish flag wrapped around her shoulders.

“No” supporter Louise Fleming, 21, who was watching the count in Edinburgh, said she was “relieved” at the result.

“It’s been such a divisive referendum, we have seen the outcome, we can’t expect everything to be great tomorrow but the right outcome has occurred,” she said. .

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