Scottish voters turned out in record numbers Thursday to deliver a vote to remain a part of the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he will follow through on promises to grant the Scots greater autonomy. (Sept. 19) AP
EDINBURGH — Scotland renewed its 307-year-old vow with the United Kingdom on Friday, but new autonomy is the price England must pay for keeping the marriage.
Voters rejected a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom by a comfortable margin of 55% to 45%. British Prime Minister David Cameron helped ensure that outcome by promising the central government in London — one of the most powerful among Western nations — would hand over more power to Edinburgh if voters chose to stay in the union.
The question now is how quickly Cameron will deliver on those promises which include significantly enhanced control over spending and taxation amounting to a version of home rule in all matters of state save for certain key areas such as defense and monetary policy.
The outcome is likely to provide new job security for Cameron, who avoided going down in history as the prime minister who lost Scotland. The vote had threatened to upend the U.K.’s relationships with key international organizations such as the European Union and NATO and inject fresh uncertainty into global financial markets at a time when world economies are in the midst of fragile recoveries.