Article / 19 September 2014 at 7:23 GMT

Scotland: What comes next

  • Cameron says independence off the agenda for many years
  • Salmond indicates the result is an interim judgement
  • Both agree that British politics faces profound changes

By Clare MacCarthy

The decisive defeat of Alex Salmond's campaign for full Scottish sovereignty means that independence for Scotland is off the table "for a generation" or even longer, UK prime minister David Cameron said in the aftermath of the result.

The referendum, which saw the "Better Together" movement romp home with a 55/45% victory, reflected "the will of the Scottish people" to remain within the United Kingdom, Cameron said in an address from 10 Downing Street. "So there can be no disputes, no re-runs," he added.

But this does not mean that UK politics will stay unaltered: Cameron also pledged to honour "in full" his referendum promises of enhanced devolution and greater powers for the constituent nations of the kingdom. "So now it is time for our United Kingdom to come together, and to move forward. A vital part of that will be a balanced settlement – fair to people in Scotland and importantly to everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well," he said.

The prime minister also sketched out his proposed timetable for his devolution promises which have deep implications for the entire United Kingdom: "Powers over tax, spending and welfare all agreed by November and draft legislation published by January".

Back in Scotland, the leader of the independence movement conceded defeat early on Friday morning. Addressing a huge crowd of bitterly disappointed supporters, Salmond indicated that the struggle for a free Scotland was not finished for good: a majority of voters had "at this stage" decided to retain the union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Much of the energy of the pro-independence campaign was driven by an army of enthusiastic volunteers. One very disappointed but optimistic 16-year-old campaigner told the BBC this morning that she was convinced that independence would come during her lifetime.



5y
LeTaulier_Lmi LeTaulier_Lmi
In his last desperate bid to save Great Britain from splitting up, David Cameron (But also other political leaders) did concede so much that we can not say it is a complete defeat of Alex Salmond.
5y
Martin O'Rourke Martin O'Rourke
I agree LeTaulier_Lmi. 1.6 million votes in favour of independence is very significant and Westminster was forced to make significant concessions in the last 10 days of the campaign to shore up the No vote and maintain the union. The UK remains intact, but September 18, 2014 is likely to be seen as a watershed in its history.
5y
Clare MacCarthy Clare MacCarthy
And the next part of the battle (starting today) about the limits of devolution is going to be great fun to watch. Come to think of it, the UK general election campaign starts today too....
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Kevin McIndoe Kevin McIndoe
Yes, and a rather sad indictment of the political nous of both David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband, both of whom were caught on the hop and whose jobs were saved, at the last minute, by the efforts of a failed former (Scottish) prime minister, Gordon Brown. Their respective parties should drop them and find leaders who can rebuild the values of the post-war consensus - ie so-called 'British' values.
5y
Clare MacCarthy Clare MacCarthy
And they're off - the first volley across the bows in the Tory leadership battle has been fired: Boris Johnson says Cameron's pledge to maintain high levels of funding for Scotland is 'reckless'.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/11108429/Boris-Johnson-David-Camerons-pledge-to-Scotland-is-reckless.html
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Kevin McIndoe Kevin McIndoe
Theresa May had better dig her (kitten) heels in if she and the ghastly Boris are heading for a showdown for the Tory leadership. George Osborne has no chance.
5y
Clare MacCarthy Clare MacCarthy
She May wear kitten heels but she's no pussycat!

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