Referendum on Scotland’s future today

So the people of Scotland vote on independence today. Voting ends at 10:00 pm with final results expected around 7:00 am Friday morning, but results will start trickling in at about 1:00 am, all local times. Last-minute polls predict that the ‘no’ vote against independence having a 52-48% lead, if the 8% of undecided voters are excluded.

There is expected to be an extraordinarily high level of voting, with as much as 95% of the 4.2 million of the people registered to vote turning out. It appears that passion and enthusiasm is overwhelmingly on the side of the ‘yes’ voters, while fear of the unknown is nudging some people to vote ‘no’ and maintain the status quo. Polls suggest the men slightly favor independence while women are 56-44 against. Poor people seem to favor independence while the elites favor remaining part of the UK, which seems consistent with the fact that in general Scots are more liberal and progressive than the English.

Apparently the strongest margin in favor of ‘yes’ seems to be among those 65 and older with over 65% tending to vote ‘no’, which leaves some observers to speculate that even if the referendum goes down to defeat this time, the yes votes will prevail if it comes up to a vote again in a decade or so. Of course, it may be that as people age, they favor the status quo in which case there may not be much of a change. Also, just for this election, 16 and 17 year old people were allowed to vote so they could be the wild card.

For those of us who do not live there or originate from there, the whole business of the relationships between England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Ireland is a bit confusing, not to mention the different labels like Great Britain (which consists of England, Scotland, and Wales) and the United Kingdom (where Northern Ireland is also included). While for some things they all seem to be joined together like one country, in other matters they seem to be different, especially when it comes to international sporting events when England, Scotland, and Wales often field separate teams.

The history and role Wales has not been part of this campaign but I found this article to be quite informative. The ties that bind Wales and England together seem to be stronger and older than those connecting Scotland and England, though again it seems like England muscled that country into submission so one wonders whether they too chafe under English dominance and will seek more independence some time in the future, just like Ireland successfully did in 1922 (when 5/6 of that Ireland voted to leave the union, leaving just Northern Ireland behind) and Scotland is trying to do now.

The Guardian newspaper has a short and amusing animated video of the history of the relationship between Scotland and England for non-UK people that I found quite enlightening. The same newspaper is running a live blog on today’s events. Their live blogs are usually pretty entertaining.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    The Scots term for England is “the Auld Enemy”, and for English people “Sassenach bastards” (Gaelic for “honourable neighbours”) 🙂

  2. Dunc says

    I wouldn’t put too much stock in the polls – they do not have a great record of accuracy even in matters with good precedent (such as Scottish parliament elections), and there’s good reason to believe that the result will be strongly influenced by the large numbers of politically disaffected people who generally do not vote. We’ve seen unprecedented scenes of people literally queuing out into the street to register to vote. I’ve voted in every election I’ve been eligible for, and I’ve never seen a queue at a polling station. Today was the first time I’ve ever got up early to vote before work, and there was a queue forming already. My gut feeling, at that of everybody else that I’ve spoken to, is that “Yes” has a strong lead amongst habitual non-voters, and that these people are dramatically under-represented in the opinion polling. Here is an article from the boss of one of the leading polling companies on the subject: ICM boss: a polling Waterloo is possible…we might have called it very wrong.

    Certainly the enthusiasm in the streets for a “Yes” vote is palpable. The “No” side struggle to pull in activists for staged photo-ops, whilst the “Yes” side can put a thousand people on the streets of Glasgow at the drop of a tweet. It’s going to be an exciting night, that’s for sure!

  3. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    There are also crown dependencies, such as the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, which are internally self-governing possessions of the Crown but transfer foreign affairs to the British government. The Shetland Islands, which are not enthusiastic about being ruled by an independent Scotland (they were handed over to Scotland by Norway without consultation in the fifteenth century), are considering applying for this status, or even having a referendum for their own independence if there is a “Yes” vote.

  4. Dunc says

    Do you have a source for that, sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d? Because I’ve lived in this country all my life, and the only suggestion I’ve ever heard about Shetland wanting independence has been from clueless English journalists in the Daily Mail and the Telegraph.

    On a rather different note, I’ve just heard via social media that at least 1 polling station has closed early, because absolutely everybody who was registered to vote there has already voted.

  5. Sunday Afternoon says

    @Dunc: that’s a fantastic achievement. We’ll get the exit poll results in just a few minutes.

  6. Dunc says

    Alistair Carmicheal is also a bloviating windbag who did absolutely everything he could to make independence seem as scary as possible.

    Not that it matters now. It’s a “no”,

  7. Sunday Afternoon says

    Personally, I’m very glad that it’s a “no”. I was able to watch the BBC coverage of the results come in here from here in California without staying up all night. I was surprised by some of the areas that voted no, including East Ayrshire which is where I grew up.

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