Scotland Says No, Not Just Now

The dust is settling, the sleep deprivation is abating and the hangover is dispersing. Now Scotland has to put the furniture back, push the hoover round, take a trip to the bottle bank and try to remember, with the aid of the embarrassing photos on Facebook and the help of more sober friends, what the hell happened.

What is clear is that an awful lot of people came to the party. A turnout figure of 84% is record-breaking and remarkable and gives the lie to the oft-repeated assertion that political apathy is a fact of life in the UK, that because we have had universal adult suffrage since 1928, the novelty of voting has worn off. On the contrary, the level of voter engagement in the #IndyRef has made it clear that, when they feel they are being presented with a clear choice on an issue that they feel is important to them, people do want to engage and have their say. The challenge to the Westminster parties is clear – how can they move more of their constituents from “Don’t vote, it only encourages them ” and “Why bother? They’re all the same” cynicism to the type of passionate participation that was evident in Scotland in the run up to the 18th September and on polling day itself?

On the other hand, the prospect of 84% of the electorate paying close attention to what is being said and done at Westminster, forming a considered and informed view and then turning out to pass judgement on what they have seen and heard must be a terrifying one.


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