Scotland Votes No. What's Next?
Following a period of buzz and discussion, today Scottish voters declined independence with a lead of 55%. The votes were counted throughout the night and confirmed this morning at 6am.
What happens next? Will it be business as usual or will change be coming? What we can be certain about is that everyone will be looking towards the UK government to follow through on its promises for devolution of power to the Scottish Parliament.
On the lead up to the referendum, Unionist parties provided more information about delivering more devolution and former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, laid out a timetable to deliver on those promises. This timetable includes:
- the new legislation will start on the day the result was announced (19 September)
- a "command paper" will be published by the UK government outligning the proposals by the end of October
- a white paper will be written by the end of November following consultations about the proposal, which will coincide with St Andrews Day
- a drafted new law will be published for a new Scotland Act in January
On Tuesday, both David Cameron and Nick Clegg declared their support of the timetable and their commitment to it.
Lord Smith of Kelvin will oversee the process to take forward the devolution commitments, with powers over tax, spending and welfare.
Both David Cameron and Alex Salmond addressed the media shortly after the result was announced. Cameron reiterated his commitment to the timetable for further devolution, whilst Salmond has emphasised that Scottish voters will expect the UK government to deliver on their pledge.
With the General Election taking place in March next year, it's very likely that each party will need to include devolution as part of their manifesto. After the election, the new government will enact on the new legislation.
The referendum has politically charged the people of Scotland, with 85% of the public voting. People are suddenly engaged with politics and everyone is now watching to make sure that the promised changes do happen.