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articles > Economy/Politics events

Scotland votes No

No, Scotland will not be independent. No, but...

By Marie Decreme

On 18 September, the Scots voted against independence for their country by 55% to 45%, beating all the records in terms of voter (85%). The three major British parties promised however to extend Scotland’s devolution two days before the referendum. What if the “no” was really a victory for the pro-independence? 

“Tails I win, heads you lose”: would the gamble launched by Alex Salmond be rigged? Yesterday, Scotland said “no” to its independence, but it should become more autonomous, thanks to the commitments made by the Westminster politicians at the beginning of this week. On 5 September, when opinion polls put the Yes camp ahead for the first time, David Cameron had the shock of his life. To avoid this worst-case scenario, the United Kingdom had to multiply its declarations of love to Scotland.

Joy in the No camp

It looks like the unionists played their last chance card with the Scots: they promised them “devo max”. This maximum transfer of powers to the Edinburgh parliament covers tax collection, greater discretionary spending powers, and the social welfare system. These extended powers would give more financial autonomy to Scotland, five months from now – a relatively short time to change complex constitutional laws.

The implementation of this new devolution could cause serious disruption in Westminster: not only are there concerns about the speed with which the Scottish parliament powers should be reviewed – the UK is looking for a “lasting settlement”, there is no need to “rush headlong into new legislation” wrote Professor Nicola McEwen of Edinburgh University – but Westminster MPs might also react: why should we give more power to Scotland and not to the other parts of the United Kingdom?

Now, the three British parties cannot step back. It remains to be seen if these new powers will satisfy pro-independence demands; the Scottish National Party defines itself as a “gradualist party”. It is gaining ground: an independent parliament, the Scotland act and now the referendum… Another referendum at some time in the future cannot be ruled out.


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