So Scotland has voted. The referendum campaign has come to an end and for now, Scotland will remain a part of the union. For many, the result will have come as a shock – for others more of a relief. But regardless of how you voted – or how you wish you had voted, one thing is clear: the fight is far from over.
At the time of writing – less than a week after the final result was revealed, Westminster politicians have already backtracked on the promises they made to the people of Scotland. David Cameron has even gone as far as to make pledges to his party that funding to Scotland will decrease.
This is merely a snapshot of the disconnect felt between Westminster and Scottish voters. You might argue that it’s also a pretty good snapshot of Westminster’s disconnect with the rest of the UK. After all, few would argue that the democratic grievances aired over the past few months have been issues domiciled entirely in Scotland.
As the arguments roll on and the heat of the referendum debate continues to refuse to die down, it’s clear that if Scotland – and now by extension the rest of the UK – wants to take more powers from the monopoly of Westminster, they will have to come together and make sure that their voices cannot be ignored.
The vote itself was the best possible indication that things can still change. The very fact that we managed to carry out a democratic vote on such a massive scale should itself be a source of massive pride.
The 1.6 million people who voted Yes did so because they wanted something different, because they felt that an independent Scotland could offer them something that the UK could not or would not offer.
At the same time, many people who voted No did so not because they were against the idea of change but because they felt that independence was the wrong way to go about it. If one thing has become clear from the discussion surrounding the referendum, it’s that few people on either side think that the status quo is good enough.
Clearly, people want change and they can still have it. They mustn’t give up. Those who took to George Square in Glasgow to hold massive rallies or who marched in huge numbers against media bias don’t need to slink back into their boxes now that the referendum is over.
The same goes for the people who took to Trafalgar Square or those who made their arguments heard across the country from Dundee to Cardiff. We can use that passion to help make the world a better place and what’s more, now we can do it with the rest of the UK by our sides.
The people of Scotland are possibly more engaged and more informed right now than they have been at any other time in our history. Whether independence is the ultimate goal or not, the referendum has afforded us the opportunity to make all of our lives better and for now, that starts with making the UK a better place to live.