Scottish independence: Glasgow Yes ‘not enough’

The polling station at Possilpark Parish Church. Picture: John Devlin

The polling station at Possilpark Parish Church. Picture: John Devlin

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SCOTLAND’S biggest city voted Yes but it did not prove enough to divert the referendum from its steady No course.

Glasgow MSP and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon praised the west of Scotland campaigners who fought the two-year battle for votes and were rewarded with a comfortable majority.

Polling stations around Glasgow. Portacabins in Springburn site of Wellfield Nursery. Picture: John Devlin

Polling stations around Glasgow. Portacabins in Springburn site of Wellfield Nursery. Picture: John Devlin

The member for Govan was cheered as she entered the Emirates Stadium where 194,779 Yes ballot papers were collected and 169,347 No votes.

It was the liveliest moment during a long night at the Commonwealth Games venue which appeared half empty and where the atmosphere was rather subdued following the first declarations for No watched on the large screen.

Officials had earlier announced that police were investigating 10 cases of suspected voting fraud in the Glasgow area.

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It is understood more than one of the city’s 200 polling stations was potentially affected by the scam, where a voter impersonates someone else.

The ballot papers have been identified and removed for investigation.

Glasgow, which has 11.35% of Scotland’s registered voters, experienced a relatively low turnout of 75% compared with other local authority areas, which left some campaigners disappointed.

Bryan Simpson, 26, from the Radical Independence Campaign, said: “I’m ecstatic about the Glasgow result, it shows a majority of Glaswegians have voted with progressive politics and voted with a big two fingers up to Westminster.

“But we thought the turnout in Glasgow would be a lot higher. We thought it was going to be about 80% or 85%, and I think that would have tipped it in our favour.

“We are only going to grow from this. I’ve always thought if we lose it we could build upon it.”

Young voter and campaigner Saffron Dickson, 16, remained upbeat.

She said: “Overall I’m a bit heartbroken but I think the Glasgow result is amazing, especially with such a Labour majority in Glasgow.

“I think Labour has seen its day in Glasgow and this is definitely the start of something new.

“We can’t pack up and go home, no matter what the result, we all need to work together. That’s a democracy.

“We need to work together to get the most powers we can and the most progressive Scotland that we can build.”

The Glasgow count was attended by SNP MSPs Bob Doris (Glasgow), John Mason (Shettleston) and Sandra White (Kelvin).

From Labour there was Patricia Ferguson (Maryhill and Springburn) and Glasgow Central MP and Scottish Labour deputy Anas Sarwar.

Mr Sarwar said: “What we are all struck by, whether Yes or No campaigners or supporters, is the incredible turnout that we’ve seen in this referendum campaign.

“The challenge for all of us is to tap into that real desire for change and to take on the task of unifying our country whatever the result, and bringing people together to create a better future for ourselves and for future generations.

“Our country is divided. We’ve got to make sure we bring people together.”

He said on Glasgow turnout: “Given Glasgow’s historic turnouts, turnout today is pretty good, although less than in other places.

“The challenge for all of us is to make sure we keep people engaged in the political process beyond the referendum.

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“How do you do that? It’s by recognising that our politics is broken and our economy is broken. And we’ve got to fix them both.”

Actress and Yes campaign advisory board member Elaine C Smith said: “People have something to vote for.

“The argument, the engagement, I love the fact that people in pubs are talking about what currency we’re using and what we’re going to do with the National Health Service, and not just going ‘we’ll, leave it to those guys in suits.’

“I feel very grateful to be alive and to be part of this - even though I’m knackered.”

Nicola Sturgeon said when it became clear that Scotland would be No: “I’ve got mixed emotions. I’m absolutely thrilled at the Yes vote in Glasgow. This is our biggest city and it has voted Yes.

“I’m obviously deeply disappointed that it looks as if we, overall, are not going to secure a Yes vote, that we will fall narrowly short of that.”

She added: “I’m quite exhilarated by the campaign. What is undoubtedly the case is that people have voted for change tonight.

“We’ve got more than a million people voting for independence. Many of those who didn’t vote for independence will have voted No because they believed that substantial new powers were coming to the Scottish Parliament.

“Scotland’s never going to be the same again as a result of this fantastic campaign and therefore, yes, I’m disappointed but also absolutely determined to make sure that the demand for change that has been expressed in this vote is delivered.”

At the close of registration on September 2 Glasgow had 486,219 electors including 74,283 postal voters and 1,980 proxy votes.

The council said 10,864 16 and 17-year-olds were registered.

Voters in Glasgow give their reaction to the Scottish independence referendum

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