Friday, 19 September 2014

Scotland Referendum: Scots Reject Independence From UK; Yes Camp Concedes Defeat in Historic Vote

Scots have rejected the chance to break away from the United Kingdom, with the No campaign winning the country's independence referendum.
The poll, which saw more than 80 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots across the nation, became official just after 6:00am local time and saw a 55-45 per cent split between the two camps.

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond, the leader of the independence campaign, said he accepted the will of the people not to become an independent country "at this stage".
"But I think all of us in this campaign will say that ... 1.6 million votes is a substantial vote for Scottish independence in the future of this country," he said.

"I think the process by which we have made our decision as a nation reflects enormous credit upon Scotland.
"A turnout of 86 per cent is one of the highest in the democratic world for any election or any referendum in history. This has been a triumph for the democratic process and for participation in politics."

The most resounding victories for the No camp came from the districts of Orkney, in the far north of the country, with 67 per cent; the Scottish Borders area, near England, with 66 per cent; and the neighbouring Dumfries and Galloway area with 65 per cent.

Earlier, the deputy leader of Mr Salmond's Scottish National Party (SNP), Nicola Sturgeon, said the result was "deeply disappointing".
"Like thousands of others across the country, I've put my heart and soul into this campaign and there is a real sense of disappointment that we've fallen narrowly short of securing a Yes vote," she said.
Mr Salmond took to Twitter as the results began to firm up, congratulating the citizens of Glasgow, the country's biggest city and one of the largest areas to back independence.
"Well done to Glasgow, our Commonwealth city, and to all the people of Scotland for such incredible support," he said.

No disputes or re-runs, says 'delighted' Cameron
British prime minister David Cameron said he had congratulated the head of the No campaign, Labour figure Alistair Darling.
He said it would have "broken his heart" to see Scotland pull away from the United Kingdom.
"The people of Scotland have spoken and it is a clear result. They have kept our country of four nations together and like millions of other people, I am delighted," he said.
"So now it is time for our United Kingdom to come together and to move forward."

Mr Cameron said that, as a democrat, he supported the opportunity for the Scottish people to have their say, but that the matter had been put to bed.
"So there can be no disputes, no re-runs. We have heard the settled will of the Scottish people."
Polls showing a surge in separatist support over the past two weeks prompted Britain to promise more powers to Scotland, a step that has angered some English politicians in Westminster.
Mr Salmond laced his defeat with a warning to British politicians in London that they must respect their last minute promise of more powers for Scotland.

"Scotland will expect these to be honoured in rapid course," he said.
In a sign that he would heed to those demands, Mr Cameron said: "Just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues.
"And all this must take place in tandem with and at the same pace as the settlement for Scotland."

Debate has created 'deep divisions'
Mr Darling said the UK must recognise the vote had created some "deep divisions".
"This has been a campaign that has both energised but at times divided and some people have felt unable to speak except through the ballot box," he told a crowd of supporters.
"Those divisions now need to be addressed and that requires leadership."

More than 4 million voters were faced with the question of whether Scotland should become an independent country, and pre-election polls showed it was destined to be a close contest.

The campaign for independence had galvanised the country of 5.3 million but also divided friends and families from the remote Scottish islands of the Atlantic to the streets of Edinburgh.

Both sides will now hope Scotland does not emerge from the long-running campaign deeply divided.

  - ABC News