By A.J.W. Ewers
Life & Culture Editor
In a Sept. 18 vote that would have ended a 307-year union with the U.K., Scotland has voted ‘no.’
With 31 of Scotland’s 32 councils reporting, ‘no’ has claimed 55.4 percent of the votes of Scotland’s more than three million voters. The referendum drew out over 86 percent of eligible voters – which for the first time included 16- and 17-year-olds.
The independence vote is the first of its kind to be held in Scottish history. Scottish voters were asked to answer the question, “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
Better Together, the U.K. government’s pro-union campaign, was lead by British minister of parliament, Alistair Darling. The campaign ran on the idea that England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – the constituent countries making up the U.K. – were better together rather than apart.
The Scottish have shown “unity and dignity, strength and passion,” Darling writes in a letter to supporters posted on the Better Together campaign website.
“You’ve embodied everything that our Scotland stand stands for,” he said.
Scotland’s pro-independence campaign was Yes Scotland. The director of broadcasting for Scotland TV, Blair Jenkins ran the campaign. Yes Scotland argued that Scotland would be run better outside of the U.K than while a part of it.
“Well done to Glasgow, our commonwealth city, and to the people of Scotland for such a incredible support,” tweeted Scotland’s pro-independence first minister, Alex Salmond after conceding Yes Scotland’s loss.
“Scotland has at this stage voted to not become an independent country. I accept and respect the verdict of the people,” Salmond said. “This has been a triumph for the democratic process.”
Although the vote was not for independence, the results of the vote mean that the status quo in the U.K. has changed forever, said Scotland’s pro-independence deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon.
Update (8:55 a.m. CDT): With all councils reporting, the final vote was 55.3 percent for ‘no,’ and 44.7 percent for ‘yes.’ Over 3.6 million of Scotland’s nearly 5.3 million citizens voted in yesterday’s election.