Friday 19 September 2014

Scotland votes, Cameron quivers

Scotland has voted against becoming an independent country.

David Cameron is already taking credit for acting in the interests of democracy in granting the referendum at all. But the reality is that he did so only in the belief that it would be decisively lost. Up to a fortnight ago that was how it looked before a swell in support for a “Yes” vote triggered panic measures to avoid his being swept away by the people of Scotland.

So whatever anyone’s views on whether that outcome was right or wrong the campaign showed a number of things about politics today in the UK.

It showed how disenfranchised the people of Scotland felt from the political process. That is a feeling that is repeated across large swathes of the rest of the UK. Despite the result that has not gone away.

It showed that people are not apathetic about politics. When given something to vote for that actually means something to them they respond. In numbers and with enthusiasm. The mainstream parties should never again have to ask themselves how to motivate people to vote: give them something real to vote for.

It showed what the power of millions of people could achieve. The concessions that have been won as a frightened establishment sought to maintain control is an illustration of what can be done.

I was no supporter of a “Yes” vote. But I felt the energy and enthusiasm that spontaneously accompanied the campaign was magnificent. Now let’s keep up that momentum both sides of the border for real constitutional change.

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