The United Kingdom, which has been around for more than 300 years, will continue into the future. 55% of those who cast ballots in Scotland said NO to independence in a historic referendum. Early on in the count, it was scarily reminiscent of what happened in Quebec in 1995, as less than one per cent separated the two sides, but by the time the results were complete it was a clear margin, and a victory for democracy.
Unlike Quebec, there was no ugly name calling by those who lost, and British Prime Minister David Cameron promised meaningful change:
“We hear you. We now have a chance. A great opportunity, to change the way British people are governed, and to change it for the better.”
Keep a good thought for Mr. Cameron. The nationalists in Wales and other regions are already at his door. He’s no doubt thankful that there seems to be a lasting peace in Northern Ireland.
When I describe the vote as ‘a victory for democracy’, there are clearly positive lessons for the rest of the world. More than 4 million Scots were eligible, and more than 85% of them showed up to do their duty without being bribed or threatened with fines. There was no violence in the streets, and the world did not see heavily armed soldiers.
My paternal grandparents were born and raised near Glasgow, and they emigrated to Canada more than a hundred years ago. They never lost their Scottish brogue, and I loved them dearly.
I have never felt a particularly strong connection to Scotland, but I can fully understand such feelings. The history is filled with drama, and passion and blood. When I stepped off the train in Edinburgh more than 40 years ago, I definitely had the feeling that I was in a different place.
So, let us raise a wee dram, and ingest some haggis if we must, and be thankful for a story that is mostly positive in these troubled times.
I’m Roger Currie