Alex Salmond's resignation is a 'sea change' in Scottish politics

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Aaron Schachter: Finally, on this historic day for Scotland, the Queen issued a rare statement. Queen Elizabeth the Second said “Yes, there will be strong feelings and contrasting emotions after the Scottish public voted against independence but that an enduring love will help unite all of Great Britain for the future.” I’m on the line with a native son of Scotland and BBC radio host, Rhod Sharp. And Rhod, how is this sitting with you on the day after? Rhod Sharp: You know, the things that’s really stunned me this morning is the resignation, or the intended resignation of the first minister, Alex Salmond, because Salmond made a speech I think after most people had gone to bed here last night, in which he called on David Cameron to make good on his promises before the referendum was taken, when Cameron thought there was a real chance he might lose. This morning, Alex Salmond, who’s clearly the best negotiator on the Scottish side, has said he’s going to stand down at this next party conference, both as first minister and as leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party, which he’s led for 20 years. So, this is a big change in Scottish politics. Schachter: His party will carry on leading things though, won’t it? Sharp: Oh, yes. But to be honest, nobody is in the class of Salmond when it comes to negotiating deals with the Westminster government. He was the guy who got this vote out of David Cameron, apparently by making Cameron think it would go no where. And then look what happened. It could have been Cameron resigning today if it had gone differently. Schachter: Rhod, I can’t remember whether you’re in the “Yes” camp or the “No” camp. Sharp: I’m in the kind of “sitting on the fence” camp. But to be perfectly honest, I’m deeply happy with this result because this is the result to the unasked question. There should have been three questions on the Scottish ballot. There should have been “Yes” for wholehearted independence, “No” for let’s leave things just the way they are and then there should have been “Yes, let’s have more of a federal solution for the whole United Kingdom.” We’ve called it devo-max. Schachter: Devolution of power. Sharp: Devolution max, yes. And David Cameron refused to put this on the ballot and the result was what we got. So now that all the three party leaders have come together and have allegedly pledged to give Scotland more power, we may have a devo-max solution. Schachter: Now, a lot of promises were made in the last couple weeks by Westminster, by the government in London. Rhod, do you believe them? Sharp: There’s my problem. You see, David Cameron is under pressure to deliver something on this very, very quickly. But he’s also under pressure from his own party who don’t want to deliver anymore, who think that the Scots have already had quite enough, thank you. Schachter: Now Rhod, you’re sitting here in New England. How did it feel to be watching this referendum play out back home and you have no hand in it? Sharp: Exactly, I had no hand in it. That’s what made me sad. I was sad not to be there because the atmosphere was just so charged and I think the tremendous democratization of this one vote, the effect on people, has been electric. Schachter: Rhod, always electric to chat with you as well. Thank you. Sharp: Thank you, Aaron.