Six Reasons To Care About The Scottish Independence Referendum Result

55% of Scottish voters went with 'No' to an independent Scotland, and here are some great things about that...


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

You might have been following the Scottish referendum for independence intently, eagerly switching on the TV to whichever channel Twitter had informed you Alex Salmond was on. Or you might have not really given a crap, preferring to leave the situation in the hands of the people who could actually vote (if you're not Scottish, that is). Now that the country has turned in a majority No vote of 55%, here's why the whole thing mattered – regardless of the outcome...

1. Voter engagement

The turnout for 2010's general election in the UK was 65.1%. The turnout for the Scottish referendum on independence was 86%. If this trend could be repeated for 2015's general election, either if the idea of votes being really important trickled down to the rest of the UK or if it's just those vote-keen Scots signing up to sign a cross on a piece of paper, our government might start to resemble its citizens. Or at least properly represent them.

2. Youth votes

Tagged onto this high voter turnout is the fact young people must have voted loads. One of the big problems with British politics is that young people feel totally disenfranchised from it, maybe a bit like some Scots backing the Yes vote felt about the rest of the UK. Unlike at general elections, 16- to 18-year-olds were given the vote in the referendum, and engaging the youth vote was a key strategy for both sides. It worked – voter turnout among young people was high, and they proved to be particularly well-informed. All excellent reasons to lower the voting age for real, non?

READ MORE: We Might Be Friends But We're Voting On Different Sides In The Scottish Referendum

3. David Cameron has committed to giving more powers to individual parts of the country, including England

In his speech following the No vote, the Prime Minister said: 'Just as the people of Scotland will have more power over their affairs, so it follows that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland will have a bigger say over theirs.'

'The rights of these voters need to be respected, preserved and enhanced,' PA reports Cameron as saying. 'It is absolutely right that a new and fair settlement for Scotland should be accompanied by a new and fair settlement that applies to all parts of our United Kingdom.'

This basically means that the referendum was just the start of a whole load of political upheaval – especially as Cameron has committed to making these constitutional changes before the next general election (which is just seven months away, guys!).

4. We can have huge votes on fundamental issues and they'll (mostly) be taken seriously!

There was a fair bit of criticism that the party leaders David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband weren't doing enough early on to encourage the No vote, and that they only seemed to give a crap when it looked like the Yes vote was nudging in. Regardless of this, they did allow the referendum to happen in the first place. OK, Scotland might not have its independence, but that's thanks to a democratic vote. They were actually given the option, which is encouraging for anyone who wants to see big changes made to the way our country functions.

READ MORE: What Will Happen If Scotland Votes For Independence

**5. We're now geared up for 2015... **

'What's happening in 2015?' I hear you ask. Obviously we're referring to the general election, which is starting to look like it could be quite exciting. For many, Scottish referendum for independence was frustrating. For example, 300,000 Scots live in London but weren't allowed to cast a vote and although Scottish independence would have affected all of Britain, other Brits were not allowed to vote either. However, at the general election in 2015, we'll all be able to vote. Hopefully what's happened in Scotland hasn't left us feeling too defeated about enacting change and instead help us have a little more faith in democracy.

6. The flag

Oh, and this is totally only relevant because of the outcome, but it's pretty great that we won't have to change our flag.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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