19 Sep 2014

#indyref: Cameron – ‘It’s time for the English to be heard’

David  Cameron in a statement at No. 10 promised to honour the pledges made to the Scottish people at the last moment in the referendum campaign. But he also said the millions in England must now be heard.

He implied Scottish MPs should not vote in Westminster on matters they have devolved to them in Holyrood. Very significantly he included not just health and education in that list but also taxation and welfare.

Prime Minister David Cameron Reacts To The Scottish Referendum DecisionThat opens up all sorts of questions about whether a Labour government dependent for its majority on Scottish MPs has legitimacy.

Labour figures say that would be a brilliant way of firing up the independence campaign again and is not on the agenda. You can see how finding consensus on what follows this vote will be difficult bordering on impossible.

In his first indication of the timing of the second arm of this massive constitutional project, the non-Scottish part, David Cameron said it must happen at the same pace as the Scottish reforms. Given the breakneck timetable announced by Gordon Brown for that, this all looks “challenging” as Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish Secretary, just called it – to say the least.

Great strides

At the exhibition centre Dynamic Earth, right by the Scottish Parliament, I saw more tears as yes supporters listened to Alex Salmond’s concession speech and digested their defeat.

Alex Salmond told them they’d made great strides towards independence and shouldn’t dwell on how they’d fallen short.

Live updates: #indyref as it happens

When the polls closed last night, Alex Salmond’s campaign team told him they thought he’d won. The yes number crunching machine had churned out a victory forecast.

One senior strategist said if they’d got the turnout in Glasgow and Dundee up to the levels achieved in No-supporting areas they might have got there.

Earlier, at the main count declaration centre near Edinburgh Airport, yes activists who’d spent the day traipsing through the schemes or estates in Leith said they thought it was largely women who’d pulled back at the last minute.

The yes team thought they’d got close to 40 per cent of Ed Miliband’s vote. In the end it may be they got closer to 30 per cent.

“It may be Gordon that got them back,” a senior yes strategist said. I suspect he strongly agrees.

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