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Referendum: Scotland the brave?

  • September 21st, 2014
  • Posted by EU Australia

uk flagScottish voters on Thursday voted down the proposition that Scotland should return to being an independent country.

 

In a high voter turn-out, 55% said no, a winning margin of 380000 residents of Scotland who had the vote.

Alex Salmond the First Minister of Scotland, from the Scottish Nationalist Party, said he would resign, but not before condemning the concerted  campaign of the major parties and a host of others against his cause.

He noted bickering between Conservative and Labour, as the polls were closed, about what they would legislate, to honour a last-minute, by-partisan pledge of more powers to the Scots parliament – including the option to levy taxes instead of depending on grants from Westminster. He said membership of the nationalist party had burgeoned and it could fight another day, perhaps looking already to both British and regional Scottish elections.

The ‘no’ campaign included an Australian  contribution at ambassadorial level; the High Commissioner in London, Alexander Downer,  former leader of the conservative Liberal Party, said publicly three days before the poll, a yes vote would weaken the United Kingdom and would work against Australia’s national interest.

The outcome, 55%-45% for ‘no’, was the same as the 1999 referendum in Australia on whether the country should become a republic.

This time, Scots were asked to give up a long history as a colonial ‘inner ring’, eventually bound to England under a single Crown 300 years ago, or accept the familiar and well-settled.

Along with blandishments there was no end of talk of risks, of bankruptcy and isolation.

The independence project had a framework to work on  in the shape of the European Union; at least six of its present 28 member states would be smaller than an independent Scottish commonwealth.

Separatist movements in regions like Catalonia in Spain will be looking to learn from the episode.

 

See also, EUAustralia Online, Scots Wha Hae?!, 12.9.14.

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