Scotland has decided

Scotland & UK

Yesterday was a historic day for Scotland – the day of the independence referendum. The people living in Scotland decided on the following question:

Should Scotland be an independent country?

I don’t think I have written about it on my blog before, but the referendum was something I felt quite passionately about. Depending on how the vote ended, our lives could have changed drastically. We weren’t sure whether we would stay in an independent Scotland, what it would mean for our plans of buying a house and how it would affect so many other things.

As an EU citizen, I got to vote in the referendum and I am glad I did. I haven’t lived in Scotland for years and years but this is where I see my future, so the referendum mattered very much to me.

I was not necessarily completely against an independent Scotland, but the YES campaign simply didn’t convince me that their plan was thought fully through. There were too many things left undecided and unclear, and in my opinion there was too much at stake to just take a chance. I don’t think an independent Scotland would have failed necessarily, but we just didn’t know, did we?

This is how I felt and most people I know felt similarly.

There are certainly many things needing improvement in the UK, but I hope that the necessary improvements can be made for the whole of the UK as it is certainly not just Scotland that is being singled out and treated unfairly.

For a long time, I was sure that the majority would vote NO but then there was that poll a few weeks ago that suggested a slight majority for YES. The pound dropped and I became a little nervous. Over the past few days, just before the referendum, I calmed down a bit again. My gut told me that the referendum would end with a NO vote, and there were many signs pointing toward that, but of course I couldn’t be 100% sure.

Yesterday, on the day of the referendum, I walked past our polling station, at 7 AM, as it was opening. I could see lots of people arriving to cast their votes already and I could tell that participation levels would be much higher than for your average election. N. and I voted after work and the place was still swarming with people.

Polling station

We watched the news coverage on the referendum in the evening, but since the polling stations only closed at 10 PM, we didn’t find out about the result until this morning. A final poll suggested that NO would win, and it did, with a bigger margin than expected. The overall result was 55% NO and 45% YES, although in our council area it was even 62% NO.

I am very glad that this period of uncertainty is over, that Scotland will stay part of the United Kingdom, and I hope that the fact that this referendum was not “won” as easily as the UK government expected will have a positive impact on politics. Many people are not happy with the status quo, 45% of Scottish voters did want Scotland to be independent and I hope that is a message that won’t be ignored by Westminster.

It has certainly been an interesting time to live in Scotland and it was a great experience to be a part of this historic decision.

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