Fears the UK would be split up proved to be unfounded as voters in Scotland chose to stay with the UK by a larger than expected margin.
A record turnout of 84.6%, unprecedented in modern British electoral history, led Scottish voters to choose to stay within the union by about 55%(1,914,187) to 45% (1,539,920). As of this morning, sparsely populated Highlands became the last to declare its results, with a victory for unionists.
Big cities were split with the capital, Edinburgh voting no, and wealthy oil-town Aberdeen also choosing to stay with Britain. However, Glasgow, the largest city, voted for independence. Glasgow’s suburban council areas such as North Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire, were the only other areas, except in the fourth largest city Dundee, where the ‘Yes’ votes were in the majority.
David Cameron said in a statement of the results: “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.”
I've spoken to Alistair Darling – and congratulated him on an well-fought campaign. #indyref
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) September 19, 2014
Whilst First Minister Alex Salmond was resolute, saying that Scotland had not voted for independence “at this stage” and added, “I don’t think that we will ever be allowed to go back to business as usual in politics again”. He also called for a speedy process on the delivery of fuller powers of devolution promised by Westminster.
Britain’s pound also rallied with the news, hitting a two year high against the euro. And several EU leaders praised the results, including German Green Party Leader Katrin Göring-Eckhardt, who stated the results “prevents a further fragmentation of Europe. But the close race shows that people want more participation.”
Business groups in the UK were positive after the result. Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, said: “The decision of the Scottish people is nothing short of a relief and good news for the rest of the UK. I also think it’s a victory for common sense and a recognition of the economic realities of the world in which we live. Business will be relieved that the uncertainty is now over and can get on with the day job of generating growth and creating jobs. Government must act on its promises and quickly start to implement the devolution proposals that have been put forward and rebuild trust and confidence.
“The debate has clearly stirred up considerable passions which will take some time to heal. In the interests of Scotland, and the rest of the UK, all parties must work together as closely as possible towards the essential reconciliation that now needs to take place.”
John Cridland, director-general of the CBI said, “This is a momentous day for our United Kingdom and this result will be greeted by a collective sigh of relief across the business community.”