Scotland says ‘No’ to independence from UK


140919071022-01-scotland-0919-horizontal-galleryAfter a long and sometime bitter campaign, voters in Scotland overwhelmingly chose to preserve its 307-year union with England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The final results showed that the unionist “No” side received 55.30 percent of the votes, while the separatist “Yes” side received a little less than 45 percent.

“There can be no disputes, no reruns – we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people,” said Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron on September 19.

“They have kept our country of four nations together. As I said during the campaign it would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end,” said a distinctly relieved Mr Cameron.

In a speech in Edinburgh, independence leader Alex Salmond conceded defeat, “I accept the verdict of the people, and I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict.” He, however, stoked the dying amber of independence adding that Scotland had not “at this stage” decided to vote for independence.

Analysts suggest that even though the Scottish independence movement lost out, the vote will dramatically change Britain’s polity. Leaders of Britain’s three main parties have promised a “devolution revolution” across Britain.

Scotland 2Salmond added that the Scottish people will now hold the prime minister and other political parties accountable for its pledges.

There were also growing concerns about the international repercussions had Scotland voted for independence under its right to self-determination.

Separatists across the globe, including those in Kashmir, Catalonia and Quebec, closely followed the Scottish vote.

“We hope India will also change its approach and realise the fact that people’s rights can’t be trampled upon,” said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, a Kashmiti separatist leader and chairman Awami Action Committee. “It is encouraging that in a peaceful manner people will be deciding their future,” he added.

Energised by the Scottish bid for independence, thousands of Catalans had rallied in Barcelona, Spain, on September 11, demanding the right to hold a referendum on independence.

The Catalan regional government has called for a similar referendum on November 9. However, the Spanish government says the vote is illegal, and is taking the dispute to the constitutional court.

“Yesterday they chose between segregation and integration. Between isolation and being open. Between stability and uncertainty. And they chose the best option for everyone – for themselves and for Europe,” said Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.