David Cameron has been spared his worst fear: Being the Tory who lost England’s hat. The Guardian has called the independence referendum and it appears that voters have declined to strike out on their own. Scotland will not leave the United Kingdom.
“No” was the slight favorite heading into yesterday’s vote, but that doesn’t mean England isn’t breathing a sigh of relief. A few months ago this result would have come as no surprise, but as the polls tightened over the last few weeks, storm clouds set in over Westminster, and the narrative seemed to suggest independence was in the wind. If momentum was in fact on the “Yes” side, it ran out of time.
The referendum was the result of decades of work on the part of Scottish nationalists. And though they lost, it’s hard to say that traditional Unionists really won. There will be further devolution. Scotland will have more autonomy than at any time since joining the Union. Indeed, if Labour wins the next election, greater devolution could be coming to Wales and Northern England as well, according to Ed Milibrand. None of that would be happening had the SNP not made this race so close.
Most everyone outside of Scotland is happy about this because it saves them a lot of messiness, especially in Brussels and DC. As my Welsh godmother said in reference to her Edinburgh-born husband, “I’m glad I’m not suddenly married to a foreigner.”