The United Kingdom remains united.
In a historic vote that prevented the rupture of a centuries-old union with England, the people of Scotland have rejected independence. The “Yes” to independence campaign did score major victories in the large metropolitan areas of Dundee and Glasgow; but overall the “Better Together” voters prevailed — they did not embrace the idea of a new state, choosing instead the security offered by remaining in the United Kingdom.
Via Fox News, we learn of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s obvious relief at the outcome of the referendum, with some 55% of the voters opting to keep the status quo and stay put.
“Like millions of others, I am delighted,” Prime Minister David Cameron said in a speech outside 10 Downing Street on Friday morning. “It would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end.”
Cameron promised new powers for Scotland in the wake of the vote, but also warned that millions of voices in England must also be heard, calling for a “balanced settlement” that would deliver more power to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
According to the BBC, the British government is moving quickly to deliver those “new powers” to Scotland, as had been promised before the vote. Because of differing proposals among Britain’s political parties, it’s not clear what the picture of Scotland’s greater self-governance will look like.
The focus will now be on how the UK government delivers its promise of more powers for the Scottish parliament, based at Holyrood, Edinburgh. Here’s what’s likely to happen next.
Labour wants to give Holyrood the power to vary income tax by 15p in the pound – but not the power to cut the top tax rate on its own.
The Conservatives propose to give Scotland total control over income tax rates and bands. Holyrood would also be accountable for 40% of the money it spent.
The Liberal Democrats propose giving Scotland power over income tax, inheritance and capital gains tax. The party has also touted scrapping the Act of Union between Scotland and England and replacing it with a declaration of federalism.
Voter turnout for the referendum was extremely high, with some 85% of eligible voters going to the polls.
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Photo Credit: BBC