Let's Stay Together

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The Still United Kingdom

scotland_sad and happy
The joy and the sorrow. Scottish voters react to the vote. Sources: AFP/Reuters
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Scotland’s decision to remain a part of Britain may strengthen the hand of prime minister David Cameron and lead to a more federal United Kingdom.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Scotland voted against independence by 55 percent.
    • The voter turnout was 84.5 percent: the highest ever participation rate in the U.K.
    • The U.K. will now award Scotland even more powers over tax and spending.
  • Audio

    Audio

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At the very last moment, Scotland decided to stay. After two years of long, and often bitter campaigning, Scotland voted to stay within the United Kingdom.

Markets rallied at the news. Sterling, which had fallen in recent weeks amid uncertainty over whether an independent Scotland would be part of a currency union hit a two-year high against the euro.

The UK stock market’s FTSE 100 also opened 0.7 percent higher at 6,865. Financial stocks with a strong link to Scotland also rallied. Shares at Royal Bank of Scotland, which had warned it would relocate to England if Scotland voted for independence, jumped 4.1 percent and Lloyds Banking group was up 2.6 percent.

The markets were reacting with relief to what they hoped was an end to the uncertainty over the future of the United Kingdom.

But as Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, and later Prime Minister David Cameron made their speeches, accepted defeat and victory respectively, it became clear that even though Scotland had voted against independence, the country would still change.

The ‘No’ campaign against Scottish independence won with 55 percent of the vote, compared to a 45 percent vote for independence. The turnout was a record breaking 84.5 percent – the highest figure recorded in the United Kingdom since the introduction of universal suffrage in 1918. Voter turnout at local elections in May were just 36 percent, and there is little doubt that the referendum campaign has energized voters in Scotland.

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