Friday, September 19, 2014

Scottish Secession: And Suddenly, It Ends

Well, it's all over. A convincing majority of Scots have voted to maintain their union with the United Kingdom. Contrary to the prediction made by Captain John when I spoke with him this morning, Alex Salmond will resign as Scotland's First Minister later this year, having failed to deliver the result he had campaigned on for the last six years. Even though Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom, Westminster will continue to devolve additional authority to Holyrood. As I mentioned in my previous post on this topic, I actually suspect that this was Salmond's goal, though his gamble failed to pay off.

The first person I spoke with this morning was The Director, who was quite relieved. He believes that this will lead to a healthy federalization of the United Kingdom, so that Scots will handle specifically Scottish affairs, while the other constituent nations (England, Wales, and Northern Ireland) will do the same, in various manners; he was quick to note that individual national parliaments on the Scottish model would not be necessary, though some facility for accomplishing this would be developed for each constituent nation. The four nations will join together in making those decisions that impact the United Kingdom as a whole. It will be fascinating to watch how this plays out in the coming years.

I listen to Around Orkney every morning on my way to work, and one of the best quotes I've heard about the referendum results came from one particular election observer (I hope I've not gotten his name wrong):
"I think the signal that's being sent, and I think it'll be sent from the whole of Scotland, is that we have got to recognize that power mustn't be concentrated in the south, so there's going to be change in Scotland anyway, and I hope it'll be good for Orkney."
- Hugh Halder Johnson, Orcadian ballot count observer
You can see the raw numbers here, or see the statistics in map form here. Some of the statistics I found most interesting were as follows:

  • Of thirty-two individual constituencies, only Glasgow, Dundee, Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire, and North Lanarkshire voted for secession, with Dundee leading the pack at 57.35%.
  • Much to my delight, Orkney satisfied a long shot prediction I made to my mother last week by voting more than two-to-one against secession - 67.20%, the highest "no" percentage of any council area. Orkney's turnout was 83.7% of eligible voters. Orkney was the first to declare their turnout and the second to (officially) declare their results.
  • For their parts, Shetland voted 63.71% against; Aberdeen City voted 58.61% against; Aberdeenshire voted 60.36% against.
  • Overall turnout for the referendum was 84.6% of eligible voters, which included constituents sixteen years of age and older.

    Once Orkney had announced its results (which happened earlier than most folks had predicted), E tagged me into a post on Facebook. He and another guy I knew from the university said a bit later that Edinburgh, East Lothian, and Stirling appeared to be leaning "no", and at that point I allowed myself to relax just a bit. I wouldn't say that my sleep was restful, but it was sufficient, and I was overjoyed when I awoke to learn of the news - having made a concerted effort to avoid the results before I went to bed.

    Key figures and prominent businesses have been reacting to the results. In my final pre-referendum post, I noted that a number of businesses had pledged to leave Scotland in the event of a "yes" vote. Several of the business I mentioned made the following statements:
    Clydesdale Bank: "Business as usual, with strong roots in Scotland."

    Standard Life: "We have no plans to move any part of our business out of Scotland."

    Royal Bank of Scotland: "Following the result, it is business as usual for all our customers across UK and RBS."
    Most of what I've been catching up on today has been from the BBC. Here are some of the highlights that aren't already linked above:

  • Scotland votes 'No': How the 'No' side won the referendum
  • Scottish referendum: The morning after the No before
  • Scottish referendum: North east and Northern Isles vote "No"

    A comic artist and humorist whose work I sometimes enjoy is J.J. McCullough. McCullough is based in Vancouver, Canada, and typically writes on a mix of Canadian and American political issues. Yesterday, he wrote an interesting critique of the referendum and its origin entitled Why does Scotland want to leave?; it leans a little bit further into the realms of sociology than I tend to, but he makes an interesting case, and even though the referendum is over, it's worth reading.

    I ran across a couple of videos today. Apparently some pranksters erected a Scottish passport control checkpoint...

    ... and one of my friends tagged me into a Facebook link to a video from The Guardian entitled Scottish referendum explained for non-Brits; it's an adequate, if tongue-in-cheek, explanation of what was going on, though I would have spun a few things a bit differently. For context, though, you can't go wrong with CGP Grey's excellent video entitled How Scotland Joined Great Britain, which I've posted previously.

    I expect that this will be my penultimate post on the topic. As fate would have it, one of my best friends is a teacher, and he decided to call me on Thursday in order to put me on speakerphone so that I could tell his high school history class about the referendum. It may have been done elsewhere, but I think that there's merit in briefly discussing the overall history that got Scotland to this point in history.

    * * *

    Credit for Photo #1: Yours truly.
    Credit for Photo #2: source, © 2014 Leanne Boulton, all rights reserved.
    Credit for Photo #3: source, © 2014 INNES/pentlandpirate, all rights reserved.
  • No comments:

    Post a Comment