Saturday, September 20, 2014


Independence activists still win with Scottish 'No' vote


By on 9:49 AM

Scotland's independence leader sure doesn't sound like a loser — even after failing to win the vote that would have freed Scotland from the reins of the United Kingdom.

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"We lost the referendum vote but can still carry the political initiative," said Alex Salmond, who resigned from Scotland's highest political office Friday, just hours after voters rejected the ballot by a comfortable margin of 55% to 45%. "More importantly, Scotland can still emerge as the real winner."

And though British Prime Minister David Cameron may have won the day, his victory comes at a considerable price: the promise of greater financial autonomy to the country's regions, meaning future squabbles and more division lie ahead for the Union.
Salmond "has potentially transformed the United Kingdom," said Fiona Hill, director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. "This referendum basically begins a process on issues of governance."

Cameron could have gone down in history as the leader who lost Scotland. It was he who decided in 2012 — when independence seemed unlikely — to allow the vote. Members of his Conservative Party had suggested that Cameron might have to resign if Scotland won independence. But his promise to grant Scotland — and Wales and Northern Ireland — more autonomy over social welfare issues and taxation means the bullet he dodged "could come back," Hill said.

Despite Cameron's victory, he will be blamed for increased acrimony over resources, and over whether his promise of greater autonomy to the U.K.'s regions is even honored, says Nile Gardiner, director of the Heritage Foundation's Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom in Washington, D.C.

"These proposals for extending more power to Scotland — these would have to be raised in parliament and many members of parliament have expressed opposition to these plans," Gardiner said. "They are by no means a done deal."

The Union might not be at any immediate risk, "but there will be a constant drumbeat for never-ending concessions from Westminster," he said.
OTHER WINNERS AND LOSERS IN THE VOTE

• WINNER: J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author, who gave 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) to the No campaign.

• LOSERS: Chris and Colin Weir, who gave 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) to the Yes campaign, leaving them with barely more than 160 million pounds from their Euromillions lottery win.

• WINNER: The British pound. It sank toward the end of the campaign because markets loathe uncertainty. It bounced back smartly once the votes were counted.

• WINNER? Queen Elizabeth II, whose Delphic comment urging Scots to "think very carefully about the future" was widely interpreted as a nudge for the No campaign. Perhaps it was just common sense.

• WINNER: Democracy: Nearly 85% of eligible voters participated in the decision.

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Judul: Independence activists still win with Scottish 'No' vote
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Update pada: 9:49 AM | Rating: 4.5

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