A historic vote and its reverberations – Scotland says No to independence
[Picture: stv Edinburgh]
It is a remarkable, energetic and sometimes rough campaign which has been fought on Scottish soil these last months. Nobody would ever have believed the nationalists to come so close to winning the referendum on the future of Scotland and indeed, the whole United Kingdom. An anachronistic break-up of a European country in a time when the nation state as primary category of international relations in the western world has been surpassed could narrowly be avoided. And yet, all Scots, whether they voted “Aye” or “No”, by this referendum have set off a political avalanche of historic proportions certain to turn British politics upside down.
For a word has finally entered central stage in Westminster that is altogether at odds with Britain’s traditionally centralistic politics: federalism. Surely, it is too early days to draw the picture of a Federal system akin to the United States or Germany, for example. Nonetheless, the Scottish referendum has evoked on both sides of the Borderlands the desire for actual Home Rule by local parliaments and governments; a desire not to be brushed off any longer.
The days of the old Westminster system are numbered - the Prime Minister’s reaction to the referendum’s result this morning has made that crystal clear. That in itself is no small feat brought about by those “unruly”, self-confident Caledonians who have stirred a debate that will define BRITISH politics for years to come – a quiet, peaceful overthrow rather typical of the land of the Bill of Rights and the Glorious Revolution.