The total electorate when the people of Scotland voted on September 18 was 4,283,938. Of these, 1,617,989 voted “Yes” to the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?”. This was 44.7% of the 3,619,915 valid votes cast on a total turnout of 84.6%.
This represents a massive vote reflecting the sentiment of the people of Scotland to end the rule from Westminster, and is an enormous slap in the face for the ruling circles who went into desperation mode as the referendum date approached. Many recognised this desperation as a fraud and a bluff, as indeed it now appears, with Gordon Brown even calling for a petition to be launched to ensure Westminster’s hollow promises are kept.
It is also clear that this desperation in fact did little to alter the trend to vote “Yes”, though the fear tactics may have consolidated those that had already decided to vote “No”, such as over the ill-founded fear that pensions may suffer under Scottish independence. The opinion polls, as cited in the House of Commons research paper analysing the results, in fact showed an almost continuous rise in those determined to vote “Yes” from the beginning of 2014, as those who were previously undecided made up their minds, while the “No” vote remained steady. This overall trend remained right up to polling date, accelerating as September 18 approached.
Thus the sentiment of the people of Scotland that they should be able to determine their own affairs in a manner which they are competent to decide was very evident and almost won the day against all the predictions of those whose interest it was to maintain the status quo.
As everyone is pointing out, political affairs in the “United Kingdom” are not going to remain the same, even though the “Yes” vote was a little over 5% short of prevailing. In other words, a space for change in the political system and institutions has opened up, and it is up to those whose interest it is to bring about democratic renewal and a system based on the rights of the people to determine their own affairs to occupy this space.
The right of the Scottish nation to self-determination cannot be taken away. There is no way that the Westminster-based parties can claim that following the referendum it will be business as usual. David Cameron has sought to utilise this space in the interests of the ruling elite, claiming that there must be “English votes on English affairs”. One of the crucial arenas in this respect is on the issue of human rights, with the Conservative Party banking on blocking the opposition of MPs from Scotland to Britain’s repeal of the Human Rights Act which enacts the European Convention of Human Rights into British law. Thus the cartel parties are doing everything they can to sabotage the demand for change and the guarantee of rights that the Scottish referendum campaign represents.
One of the most marked features which has come out of the campaign is the demand for the people to participate in political affairs. This was particularly noticeable amongst the youth, especially the 16-17 year-olds who were eligible to vote for the first time in the referendum. Some polls showed a large majority (71% according to a survey by Lord Ashcroft) of these youth voted that Scotland should determine its own affairs. Other surveys showed that right up to age 54, there had been a majority who voted “Yes”.
There is a battle brewing over the constitutional arrangements which stand in need of renewal. A Constitutional Convention has been suggested. At stake is the arrangement in which ultimate power rests with the sovereign in parliament.
It is also evident that areas with a high working class population, such as Glasgow, were in favour of exercising the right to self-determination. This points the way forward for the working class throughout Britain to join with the working class of Scotland in fighting that this is but a step along the road towards a modern sovereign state of Scotland. This is the right of the Scottish nation-building project. Sovereignty based on rights and the people holding decision-making power is the future and this is the nub of the struggle which the Scottish referendum has opened up.
The Scottish People Must Be Empowered to Exercise their Sovereignty!
This is the Demand of the Working Class of Britain!