2014 Scottish independence referendum

2014 Scottish independence referendum155 posts
23 Sep, 2014
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The Queen ‘purred’

While speaking to the former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, Cameron is overheard saying that he has never seen someone so happy after he informed the Queen of the Scottish referendum poll results. Recalling that he had called the Queen to say “it’s all right”, he said: “She purred down the line. I’ve never heard someone so happy.”

It should never have been that close. It wasn’t in the end, but there was a time in the middle of the campaign when it felt… I’ve said I want to find these polling companies and I want to sue them for my stomach ulcers because of what they put me through, you know. It was very nervous.

Buckingham Palace declines comment

Cameron Says Queen 'Purred' When Told About Scotland Vote

20 Sep, 2014
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Orkney: No 67%-33%

Orkney, one of the most Unionist areas of the country, votes No by 10,004 (67%) to 4,883 (33%). Turnout is 84%.

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Supporters clash

Supporters of the Yes and No campaigns clash in Glasgow’s George Square, with the pro-union supporters eventually becoming unruly, resulting in 10 arrests by police. A standoff develops around 6 p.m. (1 p.m. EDT) between a crowd waving Union Jacks and ‘No Thanks’ banners, and Yes supporters, who have regularly held rallies in the square in previous days. The No supporters include men, women and children carrying banners associated with Orange Lodges in Glasgow who say they are there to celebrate the ‘saving of the Union.’ However parts of the crowd begin singing sectarian football-style songs and chants. The two groups are initially separated by a police cordon. Pro-union chants:

We love Scotland more than you

Alex Salmond is a w*nker

You let your country down

The Yes campaigners disperse but the No crowd grows to around 500 people and a sudden surge appears to break police control, allowing the crowd to spill onto St. Vincent Street and then up Buchanan Street. Police make around 10 arrests by 8:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. EDT.)

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‘Scotland Bill promise broken’

Salmond says in his resignation speech that Cameron has broken a campaign promise made by Brown:

I spoke to the Prime Minister today and, although he reiterated his intention to proceed as he has outlined, he would not commit to a second reading vote by March 27 on a Scotland Bill. That was a clear promise laid out by Gordon Brown during the campaign. The Prime Minister says such a vote would be meaningless. I suspect he cannot guarantee the support of his party.

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Announces resignation

2014-scottish-indyref-salmond-resignsSalmond announces that he will resign as First Minister and head of the Scottish National Party. He will remain in the post until the SNP’s annual conference in Perth on Nov. 13-15 and will then stand down and allow another leader to be elected. He does not endorse a successor. At his official residence in Edinburgh:

It has been the privilege of my life to serve Scotland as First Minister. But as I said often during the referendum campaign this is not about me or the SNP. It is much more important than that. The position is this. We lost the referendum vote but can still carry the political initiative. More importantly Scotland can still emerge as the real winner.

19 Sep, 2014
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‘Change starts today’

Branson says that despite the No vote for independence, the referendum will create significant change for Scotland:

This referendum has not only been a driver of change for Scotland, but also for the entire political landscape of the UK.

As well as the promise of increased powers for Holyrood, it has strengthened the debate over devolution throughout the UK, including the so-called West Lothian question over whether Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish members of parliament can vote on matters that only affect England:

Radical devolution of powers is the way forward for the UK.

Westminster must deliver:

The Scottish people should be proud of the turnout of this referendum. It was a great example of democracy. Now Parliament must deliver on devolving more powers to Scotland and the rest of the UK.

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Farage: ‘English want fair settlement’

UKIP leader Farage criticizes the UK government’s handling of the referendum, as granting more powers to the Scottish Parliament worsens what he says is an advantage over England for Scotland gained via devolution:

The way that Westminster handled this was abysmal from the start. A series of promises were made on behalf of the English. The English are 86% by population of this union, they’ve been left out of all of this [The Barnett formula] for the past 18 years … what most English people want is a fair settlement.

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Clegg: UK must deliver

Clegg welcomes the referendum result and says that the onus is on the UK to deliver the devolution promises:

I’m absolutely delighted the Scottish people have taken this momentous decision to safeguard our family of nations for future generations. In a dangerous and uncertain world I have no doubt we are stronger, safer, and more prosperous together than we ever could be apart. But a vote against independence was clearly not a vote against change and we must now deliver on time and in full the radical package of newly devolved powers to Scotland.

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Obama: ‘Exercise of democracy’

Obama congratulates Scotland in a statement:

We welcome the result of yesterday’s referendum on Scottish independence and congratulate the people of Scotland for their full and energetic exercise of democracy. Through debate, discussion, and passionate yet peaceful deliberations, they reminded the world of Scotland’s enormous contributions to the UK and the world, and have spoken in favour of keeping Scotland within the United Kingdom.

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Cumming: ‘Yes still means something’

Cumming tweets that the Yes campaign ‘still means something,’ and its supporters should now focus on ensuring the UK parliament meets its promises of greater devolution:

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‘Skinheads’

The Daily Mirror reports that the pro-union crowd that gathered in George Square, resulting in 10 arrests by police, included skinheads. It does not state where it obtained the information. Several photos show men with shaved heads or short hair apparently mocking Yes campaigners, who had been rallying in the square.

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Taiwan opposition: ‘Example for the world’

The Taiwanese opposition Democratic Progressive Party says the referendum demonstrated ‘democratic values’. The vote is:

…not only an example for the world, but also inspire us to continue building and strengthening our democracy right here in Taiwan.

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West Lothian question

Cameron says that while the three main unionist parties at Westminster has promised the Scottish parliament broader powers, the referendum raises the issue of voter representation in England as well as the other countries of the UK:

We have heard the voice of Scotland and now the millions of voices of England must be heard.

He asks Labour whether it will agree to the introduction of English votes for English MPs – the ‘West Lothian question’ – and says that House of Commons leader William Hague will advance the issue in a special cabinet committee. He says the government would shortly say more about the devolution of further powers to the cities and regions of the UK.

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Proposes constitutional convention

Miliband calls for a constitutional convention as a form of semi-representative assembly between MPs, councillors and the public, beginning before the next election, to create dialogue about how power is dispersed in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England. Regions will produce reports outlining recommendations on issues such as how sub-national devolution can be strengthened, regions given more of a voice in the political system, and how to promote regional and national culture and identity. It would be followed in autumn 2015 with a constitutional convention to determine the UK-wide implications of devolution and bring the recommendations together, to be later debated by Parliament. On the referendum and Cameron’s promise of more devolution of government to the Scottish parliament:

We need a response that matches the scale of this moment. That starts with delivering on our promise of further powers to Scotland. But other people in Britain, including England, now deserve the chance to shape their own futures with a dynamic devolution settlement. This must not be led just by a Westminster elite but be open to every citizen so that they can have their say.

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Sovereign borrowing, tax changes

Law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn says that the No vote in the referendum means there is less pressure on assessing the legal processes required to redomicile businesses to England from Scotland, but there are several issues regarding government borrowing and taxation rates due to the devolution of powers from Westminster to Holyrood:

One particular financial devolved power to be aware of is a recent amendment to the Scotland  Act 2012 by which the Treasury has given increased borrowing powers to the Scottish government to borrow up to £2.2 billion, for capital expenditure purposes. The provision is not yet in force but if it does come onto the statute book, one means by which this could be achieved is by the issue of bonds in the capital markets. This raises the intriguing prospect of so-called Scottish ‘Braveheart’ bonds being issued in the future, even though Scotland remains part of the UK, with an implicit UK guarantee.

It expects rates to be announced soon for the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, which replaces stamp duty land tax in Scotland, and the Scottish Landfill Tax before both come into force next April.

The new Scottish rate of income tax will follow in April 2016, allowing the Scottish government to vary the rate of income tax on employment income and self-employed profits by up to 10% for Scottish taxpayers  – although in practice any differential in rates is likely to be much lower.  This will affect all employers with staff who are treated as Scottish taxpayers, as changes will be required to PAYE procedures.  Employers with tax equalisation policies will also need to seek advice.

Devolution is expected to bring further changes to taxes:

It is likely that there will be further devolution of taxes to the Scottish government, with all the main political parties promising new Scottish tax powers.  It is to be hoped that all parties will continue to work towards a more effective and simpler tax system.

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Electoral fraud investigation

Glasgow City Council says police have been called to investigate 10 cases of suspected election fraud. The investigation is thought to be related to possible cases of personation, or voting under somebody else’s name. Officials will have to search through the ballots to find the 10 suspect papers, which will be removed and kept separately from the more than 486,000 papers being counted in Glasgow. Police spokesman:

Police Scotland takes the safety and security of the independence referendum extremely seriously and is working with partner agencies including local authorities to ensure the integrity of the ballot.

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Fife: No 55%-45%

Fife votes against independence 55% to 45%. The turnout is 84% of the area’s 302,165 electorate.

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Dundee turnout 79%

Voter turnout in Dundee totals 79%. The Dundee council area is considered a Yes stronghold with around 70% of voters expected to support independence. A nationalist blog:

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Aberdeenshire: No 60%-40%

Salmond’s home constituency, Aberdeenshire, votes No by a margin of 108,606 (60%) to 71,337 (40%). The result puts the No side 85,112 votes short of mathematical victory.

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Edinburgh: 61%-39%

Edinburgh, the second-largest voting area after Glasgow, votes No by 194,638 (61%) to 123,927 (39%). The margin is much larger than the Yes victory in Glasgow (53%.)

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‘No’ leads 54-46

After 26 of the 32 local authorities have declared their totals, No leads by 54%-46%. Edinburgh – which polls strongly in favor of the union – has not yet declared.

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Steps down as Scottish First Minister

Salmond steps down as Scotland votes to remain a part of the UK. He announces he will not be seeking reelection as leader of the SNP party at the party conference in November.

I am immensely proud of the campaign that Yes Scotland fought and particularly of the 1.6m voters who rallied to that cause. We lost the referendum vote but Scotland can still carry the political initiative. For me as leader my time is nearly over but for Scotland the campaign continues and the dream shall never die.

18 Sep, 2014
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Branson: Devolve more powers

Branson says Scotland can have the best of both worlds by staying in the UK:

By voting to stay together, Scotland can gain more devolution, combined with the security, strength and prosperity of being a valued part of the UK.

The UK can learn from Virgin‘s structure:

We have more than 100 companies that work independently, with a lot of power to make their own decisions, but remain under the Virgin umbrella. This gives them lots of freedom, while also providing the security and strength of the Virgin brand.

If Scotland chooses to stay together, the powers the Scottish parliament gain could be an example for devolution elsewhere in the UK:

In the coming decades I believe more power should be devolved regionally, and to big cities like Manchester, London, Liverpool, Cardiff and Birmingham. Smaller teams focusing upon local issues can achieve more, provided they have the support being a part of the UK provides.

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Glasgow: Yes 53%-47%

Glasgow, the largest of the 32 areas, votes Yes by 194,739 (53%) to 169,347 (47%). The nationalist campaign had been hoping for a margin 60% or more, and a higher turnout of voters than the 75% who made it to the polls.

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Result at 56-44 for No

With more than half of all declarations in – 17 council areas have had their vote totals announced – the national totals stand at No 56% and Yes 44%. The vote tally as it stands is a bigger margin for No than most polls have predicted.

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Angus: No 56%-44%

Angus votes No by 45,192 (56%) to 35,044 (44%). Turnout is 85.7%. The area is represented by a Scottish National Party Member of Parliament.

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Result at 53-47 for No

After the first 11 council areas declare, the overall total stands at No 53% and Yes 47%.

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