Independence Referendum

The story of Scotland's historic vote


In the 300 years since the union of England and Scotland into a single kingdom, many Scots have dreamed of a nation of their own, in control of its own destiny.

But the real dream of an independent Scotland did not truly begin until a few sentences were written on the back of an envelope in a cafe on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street in September 1927.

When John MacCormick, a 22-year-old law student at Glasgow University, meets with two friends to form the Scottish Nationalist Association, the minutes are scribbled in pencil on the nearest paper to hand. The first membership card issued shortly afterwards states its objective: “To foster and maintain Scottish Nationalism by securing self-government for Scotland …”

When he tells his mother of his plans she scolds him:

“Home rule, indeed! That died at Culloden. You’ll be daft if you throw your future to the winds chasing that old dream... If only we could get it.”

The road from that September to the recent referendum has woven through the formation of the Scottish National Party in 1934 and the National Covenant, a petition written in October, 1949 at the Church of Scotland Assembly Halls in Edinburgh demanding home rule which was eventually signed by two million people, out of a population of 5 million.

The road dips down through the dark valley of the 1979 referendum, when devolution is controversially denied. Although more than 50 per cent of voters said yes, due to the fact that 40 per cent of the total electorate had not agreed to the proposal, it could not be passed.

But it eventually moves on to the sunny uplands of its successor in 1999, when the Holyrood Parliament is established after an overwhelming Yes vote in the 1997 referendum.

Yet the prospect of a referendum on an independent Scotland becomes a reality in May 2007 when the SNP, led by Alex Salmond, wins a narrow victory and forms a minority government in the Scottish Parliament. As Salmond declares:

“It is very clear which party has lost this election, and the Labour Party no longer has any moral authority to govern Scotland. Never again will we say that the Labour Party assumes it has a divine right to rule Scotland.”

The SNP’s plans for a referendum in 2010 are foiled by its failure to secure a majority – in the end only 50 MSPs out of 129 vote to put the case to the people of Scotland – and so the idea is temporarily shelved.

However, the Scottish Parliament election of May 2011 turns the party’s hopes into a certainty when the SNP overturn a double-digit lead by Labour to secure a landslide victory and a majority of seats with 69 MSPs out of 129.

David Cameron quickly concedes the First Minister now has a mandate to secure a historic referendum on independence, one the Prime Minister says he will fight with “every fibre I have”.

In the 18 months after the election, key questions are raised and settled. In January 2012 the Prime Minister suggests that the referendum should be “sooner rather than later”.

In May 2012 the Yes Scotland campaign is launched with Blair Jenkins, former head of news at the BBC, as chief executive, with the immediate goal of securing 1 million signatures.

The following month the Better Together campaign is launched with Alistair Darling, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer during the 2008 financial crash, as leader. Supporters said that what he lacks in crackling political charisma, he more than compensates for with an ability to loosen the economic bolts on the independence bandwagon.

In October 2012 Cameron and Salmond sign the 30-clause Edinburgh Agreement which commits to a single Yes/No independence referendum in the autumn of 2014 and for the first time in political history 16 and 17-year-olds will be entitled to vote.

On 21 March 2013 the Scottish Government announces that the date of the referendum will be Thursday 18 September 2014. The electoral commission confirm that the wording of the single question will be: “Should Scotland be an independent country?’

As soon as the campaign starts, it's clear what the big topics of debate will be – oil, the economy and whether or not an independent Scotland would still be able to use the pound.

On Tuesday 25 November Salmond unveils a 649-page document: Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to an Independent Scotland, which promises that an independent Scotland would scrap Trident nuclear weapons from the Clyde, banish the “bedroom tax” and replace the BBC with the “Scottish Broadcasting Service”. However, EastEnders and Doctor Who would be still available to view.

Salmond calls the paper “the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published, not just for Scotland but for any prospective independent nation”. Darling describes it as “a work of fiction, full of meaningless assertions”.

Margo MacDonald, the most popular MSP in Scotland and a champion of independence, died at her home on 4 April 2014, after 20 years battling Parkinson’s disease.

Her husband Jim Sillars said:

“The brightest light of the Scottish political firmament has gone out.”

Key Players
No Campaign

Alistair Darling

One of the foremost Labour politicians of his generation, Alistair Darling was named as the Chair of the Better Together Campaign in 2012.

Despite fears that he lacked the personality to compete with rival Alex Salmond, Darling proved to be a capable opponent for the First MInister, and was widely acknowledged as having won the first televised debate between the pair.

Darling first entered the House of Commons in 1987 and was one of only three politicians, alongside Gordon Brown and Jack Straw, to serve continuously in the Cabinet from Labour's victory in 1997 until it was booted out of office in 2010.

He was first appointed as Chief Secretary of the Treasury in 1997, before being promoted to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions a year later.

He later served as Secretary of State for Transport, Scottish Secretary and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, before being made Chancellor in 2007.

Just a year later the world was in economic crisis, and Darling was forced to partly nationalise several banks to help prevent the total collapse of the British banking system.

As the country suffered from its worst recession in decades, the Labour party was eventually voted out of office in 2010.

Jim Murphy

One of the most visible members of Better Together, Labour MP Jim Murphy, took the campaign to save the Union to the people, pitching up in streets across the country with just a microphone and a crate of Irn-Bru to stand on, as he pleaded the case for the No campaign.

His one-man rallies soon proved a magnet for Yes supporters, and the Shadow Secretary of State was eventually forced to curtail the events due to safety concerns, with Murphy being pelted with eggs on one occasion.

The 47-year-old was first elected as MP for East Renfrewshire in 1997, with a majority of 10,420. During Labour's time in power, he served as Parliament Secretary at the Cabinet Office, Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform, Minister for Europe and Secretary of State for Scotland.

Since Labour's defeat in 2010, he has been Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, and, most recently, Shadow International Development Secretary.

Gordon Brown

After several years out of the political spotlight, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was widely regarded as having helped swing the vote in the No camp's favour with a barnstorming speech just days before the election.

With a surprise poll showing the Yes campaign narrowly in front, Brown joined his successor as Labour leader, Ed Miliband, Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as part of a final push to help push Better Together over the winning line.

His speech was widely praised by observers as he passionately pleaded with his countrymen to remain part of the Union and stressed the benefits of remaining in the UK.

Brown first became a Labour MP in 1983, first for Dunfermline East, and currently for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

He first served in the shadow cabinet in 1989, eventually becoming the Chancellor of the Exchequer following Labour's landslide General Election victory in 1997. He went on to become the longest serving incumbent in that position, before finally taking over from Tony Blair as Prime Minister in 2007.

Despite initial success in the opinion polls, Brown's popularity suffered as the country was hit by the financial downturn from 2008. That led to Labour losing 91 seats in the 2010 General Election, allowing the Conservatives to take power after forming a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

Key Players
Yes Campaign

Alex Salmond

Having twice been leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond came to international prominence as the face of the Yes camp during the referendum campaign.

A popular and charismatic politician, Salmond almost succeeded in fulfilling his dream of creating an independent Scotland after closing a huge gap in the polls, eventually falling just short of a majority in the final vote.

A committed and passionate believer in Scottish independence, Salmond served as leader of the SNP between 1990 and 2000, before taking up the reins again in 2004.

His political career on the national stage began in 1987, when he was elected as MP for Banff and Buchan. Following the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, he was elected as MSP for the same area, representing his constituency in both Parliaments.

He resigned as SNP leader in 2000, and did not attempt to be re-elected to the Holyrood Parliament. However, he was re-elected party leader in 2004 and at the next Scottish elections, he announced that he would contest the Gordon seat. He won, and following his party's success in the polls, was voted First Minister in May 2007.

Until 2011, Salmond headed a minority government, meaning he was unable to gather enough support in Parliament for an independence referendum.

Following the SNP's victory in the 2011 elections, which gave the party an overall majority for the first time, he was able to finally give the people of Scotland their chance to vote on whether they wanted to break away from the rest of the UK.

Nicola Sturgeon

Although First Minister Alex Salmond was the most recognisable face of the Yes campaign, his deputy Nicola Sturgeon, played an equally important role in the near success of the independence movement.

The former solicitor was first elected as MSP for Glasgow Southside in 2007, also becoming Deputy First Minister behind Salmond.

She had originally intended to run for party leader in 2004 following the resignation of John Swinney, but stood aside to run on a joint ticket with Salmond as his deputy.

When the SNP won the highest number of votes in the 2007 Holyrood election, Sturgeon was appointed Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.

Sturgeon joined the SNP in 1986, after having her views on politics shaped by the problems suffered under Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government during the 1980s. She stood as SNP candidate in Westminster elections in 1992 and 1997 before winning her seat in the newly created Scottish Parliament in 1999.

Blair Jenkins

Unlike the vast majority of the leading figures on both sides of the Campaign, Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins is not a member of any political party and has not previously been involved with any political campaign.

Previously Director of Broadcasting at STV and head of News at STV and BBC Scotland, Jenkins was named as the head of the campaign in 2012.

He was previously chair of the Scottish Broadcasting Commission and was made an OBE for his services to broadcasting in 2010.

Following his appointment he said: “For more than 30 years my professional life has been about impartial journalism. I’m not a member of any party and I’ve never engaged in any form of political activity. But this is just too important.”

He said the campaign “will be represented and supported by people from across the political spectrum. It will not be dominated by party politics.”

And it was a passion for social justice that led to him to back the Yes campaign. He said during the campaign:

"There are few certainties in life, whichever way we vote next year. But who can doubt that an independent Scotland, with our traditions and values and voting patterns, would provide a more supportive and caring environment for the vulnerable and the disenfranchised?"

Opinion Polls

Members of the British Polling Council conducted 28 opinion polls regarding the referendum in 2013, all but one indicated that the No campaign had the backing of the majority.

At the turn of the year, the public opinion polls showed no improvement for the Yes campaign, with only one of the four conducted in January showing a percentage lead for the No campaign in less than double figures.

In the same month as the campaigning revved up, Darling said in an interview with The Scotsman that the unanswered questions in the White Paper should send “shivers of fear through Scots”.

Henry McLeish, the former First Minister, insisted that the No Campaign should publish its own paper arguing for the Union, while Cameron said it was crucial for No to “win some of the arguments of the heart”. His comments came after reports that Darling’s campaign was “comatose” and “useless”.

However, the Prime Minister conceded that he was not the best man to lead the campaign. After Ian Davidson, chairman of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, described him as “a Tory toff from the Home Counties” the PM said: “I accept that my appeal does not stretch to all parts of Scotland.”

The Treasury pledged to cover all of the UK’s £1.7 trillion national debt even if Scots voted for independence up to the point of independence in 2016. The Scottish Government said it would accept a “fair and proportionate” share of liabilities.

In May, SNP Pensions Secretary Shona Robinson claimed that retired Scots were being done out of £50,000 of State pension - by dying early. She called for a lower retirement age in Scotland.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said that Scottish banknotes would cease to exist if voters backed Yes and Scotland tried to keep using the pound. He added: "No ifs, no buts, there will be no sterling zone".

As the Referendum campaign entered its final 100 days in June, Salmond said it was foolish to trust No10 delivering extra powers: “I think the only guarantee of getting more powers is to vote Yes on 18 September.”

It was revealed that Harry Potter author JK Rowling made a £1m donation to the Better Together campaign: “The more I listen to the Yes campaign, the more I worry about its minimisation and even denial of risks,” she says.

In July, David Cameron accused the Scottish Government of using "threats and warnings" to discourage business leaders from declaring their support for the UK.

However, Scots fearful that Britain would leave the EU following Cameron's "in-out" referendum were revealed to be flocking to the Yes campaign.

The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow saw Team England receive the second largest cheer of the night behind Team Scotland, following fears that there would be boos.

In August, Nicola Sturgeon said that: "The success of the Games would propel the country to back independence".

On the 5 August, Salmond and Darling went head to head in the first of two debates scheduled in that month. A snap poll afterwards declared that leader of the Better Together campaign came out as the winner.

On the 27 August, a poll following the second debate indicated that Salmon and the Yes campaign had come out on top.

On Sunday 7 September a shock You Gov poll put Yes at 51 per cent and No on 49 per cent – the first time the Independence movement had been in the lead. This illustrated the collapse of a 22-point No lead in just over a month. Salmond was told the news on the golf course and afterwards hits the strongest drive of his game. Cameron was with the Queen at Balmoral, where he may have had some explaining to do.

Gordon Brown, the former Labour Prime Minister, rode to the rescue of the Union by setting out a plan that would see further powers for the Scottish Parliament over taxation, welfare and finance with the draft laws in place by Burns Night 2015. Yes campaigners dismissed this as “panic and desperation”.

In another move that each party leader insisted was not motivated by “panic and desperation”, Cameron, Miliband and Clegg all agreed to ditch Wednesday’s Question Time at Parliament and fly instead to Scotland to campaign for the Union.

In the last few days of campaigning, Ed Miliband, on a final visit to a shopping centre in Edinburgh, was hounded out by a rabble of Yes supporters.

Live Debates

Billed by broadcasters as the most important political discussions in Scotland’s history, the two televised debates between Yes Scotland’s Alex Salmond and Better Together’s Alistair Darling proved compulsive viewing for voters.

It all started positively for the Unionists, with Darling recognised as gaining the upper hand in a fiercely combative first debate.

The event was played out in front of a 350-strong studio audience, who had been specially selected in conjunction with opinion research firm Ipsos-Mori Scotland to represent Yes, No and undecided voters, at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.

Their exchanges were passionate with the encounter heating up when Mr Darling challenged Mr Salmond over his currency plans.

Mr Salmond argued that the pound belonged to Scotland and England. But in a stormy session, Mr Darling said the pound belonged to United Kingdom and that independence would lead to Scotland “scrabbling around with someone else’s currency”, which would be “foolishness of the first order”.

The First Minister then asked Mr Darling if he agreed with Prime Minister David Cameron that Scotland could be a successful independent country.

Mr Darling talked of the risks associated with going independent. He said 15 per cent of Scotland’s tax revenue came from declining North Sea oil revenues.

To which, Salmond told the audience that for more than half his life Scotland had been “governed by parties we didn’t elect at Westminster” which he wanted to change, adding:

“These governments have given us everything from the poll tax to the bedroom tax and now the same people, in their self-declared Project Fear, are telling this country that we can’t run our own affairs.

“My case this evening is this: no-one, no-one will do a better job of running Scotland than the people who live and work in this country. On September 18 we have the opportunity of a lifetime. We should seize that opportunity with both hands.”

Mr Darling’s returned to his opening remarks, saying that independence should not be a question of “blind faith” and adding that he wanted Mr Salmond to tackle his unanswered questions.

“I want Scotland to prosper – we all do but it is not our patriotism that is at stake tonight rather it’s something bigger than that and that’s the future of our country the future for our children and our grandchildren, and it isn’t just for politicians it’s for all of us,” Mr Darling said.

“And you know there are times that for the love of our family and the love of our country it’s sometimes best to say No – not because we can’t – but simply because it is not the best thing to do.”

Meanwhile, it was Salmond who overwhelmingly had the upper hand in the second debate broadcast on BBC, with some opinion polls saying that 71 per cent of viewers thought that the SNP leader had got the better of his Labour opponent.

Salmond was on the front foot from the outset, asking for answers on how the NHS, welfare and oil would be affected if the Conservatives remained in power in London next year.

The SNP leader insisted he had three Plan Bs for Scotland’s currency after independence if the UK vetoes a formal currency union.

“We could have a Scottish currency. We could have a flexible currency like Sweden or Norway has. We could have a fixed rate Scottish pound attached to the pound sterling. That’s what Denmark does with the euro and Hong Kong does with the dollar.

“No one can stop us using the pound sterling, which is an internationally tradeable currency. Nobody can stop us using it.”

There were also clashes over the NHS and oil again, with the debate often turning bad-tempered during a section in which the pair could ask each other questions.

On the NHS, Mr Darling branded the Yes campaign “beneath contempt” over “scare stories” about the health service, but he faced awkward questions over how Scotland would get more powers after a No vote.

Mr Darling said the NHS had only been mentioned once by Mr Salmond in the last debate. “Since then we’ve been subjected to a scare campaign principally aimed at what’s going on in England,” he said.

“Alex Salmond has endorsed a claim that operations were being stopped in Gateshead in the north-east of England because of privatisation. “It turns out that the allegation was simply untrue – a complete fabrication.”

Mr Darling also attacked the SNP leader over North Sea oil and gas, after tycoon Sir Ian Wood had said the Yes camp were on the back foot last week when he claimed the Scottish Government had over-estimated the amount oil and gas left in the North Sea by up to 60 per cent.

But Mr Salmond insisted even the smaller of Sir Ian’s estimates would be worth £1 trillion. He went on: “The No campaign are the only people in the world who argue that the possession of substantial amounts of oil and gas is somehow a curse.”

Social Media

Visualisation by Trendsmap

Visualisation by Trendsmap

The unprecedented widespread use of social media during the referendum indicates that election campaigns may never be the same again.

The above video graphic map was created by Trendsmap and charts the tweets from Yes and No supporters in the 24 hours from the polls opening to the announcement of the result. The map follows the hashtags #voteyes, #yesscotland, #voteyesscotland, #voteno, #bettertogether and #nothanks.

From when the polls opened at 7am on Thursday, 18 September, until 7am on Friday, 19 September, Twitter users sent 2,603,497 tweets, in a campaign that captured the attention of people around the world.

When the result was finally confirmed people took to Twitter to celebrate and commiserate, generating a peak of 5,212 tweets per minute (TPM). That was the highest TPM recorded during the referendum process as a whole, beating the peaks seen during the referendum debates on 5 August (2,019 TPM) and 25 August (2,213 TPM).

It was not just in the 24 hours leading up to the result that social media played a part in the campaign.

On Facebook in the five weeks up to 18 September there were more than ten million interactions (posts, comments and likes) across the UK linked to the referendum, including more than 8.5 million interactions in Scotland – almost 275,000 referendum-related interactions every single day.

The Yes campaign was the clear winner on social media. On Facebook, the Yes campaign page has more than 358,290 likes compared with 225,481 for Better Together. SNP First Minister Alex Salmond has 700,000 interactions and 138,090 likes compared with Better Together leader Alistair Darling’s 250,000 interactions and 1,710 likes.

The official Twitter account of the Yes campaign has 118,000 followers compared with 42,200 for Better Together. Alex Salmond boasts 95,000 Twitter followers and his deputy Nicola Sturgeon has 66,000 – Alistair Darling has 21,000.

Not all interactions on social media were so positive. As passions from both sides rose, inevitably, a dark side surfaced and some of those who famously spoke out for their side were viciously trolled, with one BBC journalist forced to delete 400 abusive tweets from his timeline.

After previously insisting he did not know enough about politics to comment, Scottish tennis star Andy Murray tweeted that the No campaign negativity had swayed him to a Yes: “Huge day for Scotland today! No negativity last few days totally swayed my view on it. excited to see the outcome. lets do this!”.

En route to cast his vote Mr Salmond said Murray had hit another winner, but within minutes the Wimbledon champion was assailed by Twitter trolls, one of whom wrote: “wish u had been killed at Dunblane, you miserable anti-British hypocritical little git. Your life will be a misery from now.”

JK Rowling, who was born in England but has lived in Edinburgh for 21 years and is married to a Scot, suffered a social media backlash when she donated £1 million to the Better Together campaign and explained her donation on her website. In one aggressive attack a Scottish charity called Dignity Project tweeted: “What a #bitch after we gave her shelter in our city when she was a single mum.” on its official feed.

However her tweet of: “#indyref Been up all night watching Scotland make history. A huge turnout, a peaceful democratic process: we should be proud”, following the No result was one of the most retweeted on the day at 5049. It was only surpassed by the 5608 retweets of Frankie Boyle’s “To be fair, I’ve always hated Scotland”.

Other stars waded into the Twitter discussion with their brief moments of wisdom:

Comedian Russell Brand added his name to independence supporters one week from the referendum: “I’ve never voted but if I was Scottish I’d vote yes.”

The Apprentice winner, Dr Leah Totton offered half-price tattoo removals for tattoos featuring Yes or No slogans.

On 18 September Sir Richard Branson wrote: “I’m usually Dr Yes – for today only I’m Dr No! #IndyRef #StayTogether”

Jamie Murray: “Scotland is full of smart talented hard working humble people. Have faith in them to run our country successfully.”

Rio Ferdinand: “Will Scotland go independent or not?? Good or bad move people? #Indyref”

and Calvin Harris: “Will Scotland have it’s own iTunes store?”

Social Media may have changed the way we discuss politics forever but, as the result show, may not offer a clear indication of who is going to win.

The Vote

There was not much that the Yes and No camps agreed on during the build-up to the referendum, but one thing that united campaigners on both sides was their delight at the fact that the Scottish electorate had been engaged in politics like never before.

Everyone in Scotland had an opinion on a subject that would change the course of their nation's future, a fact that was illustrated by the staggering number of people who had registered to vote in the referendum – 4,285,323 – 97 per cent of the eligible population.

Between 7am and 10pm on referendum day, 85 per cent of the population turned up to vote, a number accompanied by dogs whose autumn coats have been decorated with their master or mistresses’ preferred choice.

Queues began outside some polling stations as early as 6am - an hour before the polls opened - as eager voters rushed to cast their ballot papers before the start of the working day.

Voters at Scotland’s polling stations reported that some ballot boxes were already full, while others spoke of long queues outside venues to get the chance to vote.

“I’ve waited all my life for this,” said the first voter in Edinburgh’s Waverley Court.

In Dunblane, the polling station car park overflowed, causing a traffic snarl-up through the town, while in Edinburgh’s Craigmillar, a piper led voters through the streets to the polling station.

One church acting as a polling station - St Phillips and St James in the capital’s Inverleith district - included arrows on its sign to point people in the right direction: to either “vote” or “pray”.

In Glasgow, where George Square was host to ongoing Yes campaign rallies, there was a carnival-like atmosphere with people swept up in referendum fever.

There was some trouble, with two people arrested and Police Scotland called in to investigate a matter of electoral fraud after ten people in Glasgow arrive to vote only to discover someone else has used their ballot paper. Graffiti announcing that: “No voters will be shot!” was quickly painted over. Nationalist tourists from Corsica, the Basque Country and various communities in France flew in to witness the historic vote.

Eventually a total of 3,623,344 of votes were cast on the big day, with an astonishing 84.59 per cent of the electorate having their say. In the 2010 General Election, turnout across the UK had been 65 per cent.

First vote for 16-17 year olds

The Result

Between 10pm and 6am the nationalist dream that began in a cafe in Sauchiehall Street 87 years ago and seemed so close, slipped out of reach.

However, hundreds of Yes campaigners continued the tradition of the Tartan army by getting their celebrations in early and took to Glasgow’s George Square brandishing the saltire.

Shortly after 1.30am on Friday 19 September, the first authority, Clackmannanshire, announced the result of their count.

This was to be the first of a number of disappointing results for the Yes campaign, with No securing 53.8 per cent of the votes.

The following five authorities also declared wins for the No camp, with Dundee finally announcing a win for Yes with a majority of 57.3 per cent shortly before 4am.

West Dunbartonshire followed shortly afterwards with another Yes majority, with 54 per cent voting for independence.

Thereafter a swathe of No declarations poured in with a brief moment of respite for the Yes camp, with North Lanarkshire declaring a close run victory for Yes with a majority of 51 per cent.

The last hope for the Yes camp was Glasgow, with promise of a large majority vote in favour of independence. However, a disappointing turnout from Scotland's largest city of 74.9 per cent, lessened the impact of the 53.5 per cent Yes vote.

As the result of the historic vote became clear, Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

"Firstly the people of Scotland have clearly found their voice. Secondly with over one million voting for independence at this stage, there’s a big appetite for change. What we are not seeing, emphatically not, is any kind of endorsement of the status quo."

With the eleven remaining local authorities all recording victories for the No campaign, only four out of 32 voted in favour for independence.

The final total of votes was No: 2,001,926 Yes: 1,617,989, a division of 55 per cent to 45 per cent from an extraordinary turnout of 85 per cent.

As Alex Salmond conceded defeat he said:

"Today of all days as we bring Scotland together, let us not dwell on the distance we have fallen short, let us dwell on the distance we have travelled and have confidence the movement is abroad in Scotland that will take this nation forward.

David Cameron said he will honour the promise of new powers to the Scottish Parliament made during the campaign, but added: “Now the debate has been settled for a generation, or as Alex Salmond has said: ‘Perhaps for a lifetime’. So there can be no disputes, no re-runs; we have heard the will of the Scottish people.”

In shameful scenes broadcast globally, loyalist gangs brandishing Union Flags descended on Yes supporters in Glasgow's George Square, triggering a violent disturbance that was finally contained by mounted police. Eleven people were arrested.

Within hours of the result, Alex Salmond resigned as First Minister and SNP leader: “For me, as leader, my time is nearly over but for Scotland, the campaign continues and the dream shall never die.”


Lead designer: Adam Meads

Designers: Duncan Jackson, Kirstie Lorimer

Writers: Stephen McGinty, Duncan Jackson, Adam Meads, Kirstie Lorimer

Pictures: Carol McCabe Neil Hanna, Robert Perry, John Devlin, Jane Barlow, Ian Rutherford, Lisa Ferguson, Jane Barlow, Andrew O'Brien, Andrew Milligan, PA, AP, Getty

Videos: Fife Free Press, Channel 4, Trendsmap

Created by The Scotsman