Mary Pitcaithly, Chief counting officer, announces the result of the Scottish referendum on independence at the count centre for the Scottish referendum at Ingleston Hall on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The majority of Scottish people have today voted “No” in the referendum and Scotland will remain within the historic union of countries that make up the United Kingdom.
Credit: Jeff J Mitchell


GLOBALPOST LIVE BLOG: THE SCOTTISH REFERENDUM

UPDATE: 9/19/14 2:00 PM ET

Signing off

This live blog is now closed. Follow GlobalPost's Twitter @GlobalPost for further updates.

UPDATE: 9/19/14 11:15 AM ET

Leader of Scottish National Party resigns

Here's Salmond's official statement:

UPDATE: 9/19/14 8:55 AM ET

On the SNP

This Washington Post story has some great details about the Scottish National Party: Heartache for those dreaming of Scottish independence. Karla Adams reports:

The SNP was launched in 1934, but it was not until the 1970s when it began to look like a serious player, prising votes away from the left-leaning Labor Party and winning seats in general elections. 

Full story here

UPDATE: 9/19/14 8:20 AM ET

Russia criticizes Scottish referendum

"In an apparent attempt to mirror persistent western criticism of Russia's own elections, Igor Borisov — an accredited observer — said that the poll didn't meet basic international norms," The Guardian's Luke Harding writes. "Borisov and three other Russians arrived in Edinburgh on Wednesday evening, the state news agency Ria Novosti reported."

Read the piece here.

UPDATE: 9/19/14 6:53 AM ET

The unionists are elated, even with promises of change

(AFP/Getty Images)

Supporters of the No campaign are celebrating today, feeling great relief to have kept Scotland joined with the rest of the UK.

Banks and big businesses are feeling good, too. Including the whisky makers.

But the British leadership has promised that the union won't be the same from here, and it's a safe bet at least 45 percent of Scots will hold them to that.

Britain's three main political parties agreed ahead of the referendum that Scotland could set more of its own laws from next year if it voted "No."

"The status quo is gone," British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday in his final Scottish speech of the campaign.

"There is no going back to the way things were. A vote for 'No' means real change."

Cameron was expected to make an announcement as early as Friday for an overhaul of local governance in Britain.

Read Agence France-Presse's full report on Scotland's next step.

UPDATE: 9/19/14 4:48 AM ET

The highest turnout in UK history

From Corinne Purtill in Glasgow, Scotland:

“[I'm] gutted,” said Marjorie Collins, 66, as she sat on a bench watching a dejected crowd of Yes supporters in Glasgow disperse just past 6 a.m. “It’s the look of despair on these young people’s faces. I just can’t understand what happened. I knew Aberdeen would vote no, because of the oil. I hate to think it was the pensioners’ vote [that] did it.”

The retired childcare provider got up early to walk from her flat to George Square, hoping to find a victory celebration.

“I actually thought that there’d be history in the making,” she said. “Not this.”

It was history of a sort. Almost 85 percent of eligible voters participated, the highest turnout in UK history. An unprecedented number of voters registered — 97 percent — many of whom had never voted or been involved politically before.

For those experiencing their first taste of democracy, the defeat was especially bitter.

“It’s been rigged from the start,” said Melissa Tierney, 18, a Glasgow student who checked her phone on the street after leaving a club Friday morning and shouted over the No results pouring in.

“I’m a little bit angry. I’m on Facebook and everyone was voting yes. I don’t understand how it’s no,” she said. She wasn’t sure if she’d bother voting again.

So what happens now?

Read on.

UPDATE: 9/19/14 3:20 AM ET

Results are in: Scots decide they're 'Better Together'

From Corinne Purtill in Glasgow, Scotland:

Scotland’s voters rejected independence Thursday by a margin of 55 to 45 percent, ending a two-year campaign and crushing the aspirations of 1.6 million voters who hoped today would be the start of a new nation.

In George Square in Glasgow — one of just four of Scotland’s 32 regions to vote for independence  — a crowd of saltire-waving Yes supporters remained optimistic and defiant when the BBC first predicted a No vote around 5 a.m. Friday.

Within an hour, when it became clear that even Glasgow’s Yes vote wasn’t enough to swing the election, the mood changed. Men who stayed awake all night for the result dropped to their knees and cried.

LIVE VIDEO

Watch overnight overage from Scotland TV 

UPDATE: 9/18/14 10:38 PM ET

High turnout reflects passionate differences

Early figures indicate turnout for the referendum was well over 80 percent in many areas, suggesting this vote means a lot to the Scottish public, whichever position they take. (For comparison — US presidential elections haven't seen that kind of voter engagement since the 1800s.)

The BBC is tracking results here. Only the five smallest of 32 councils have been counted so far, with the results leaning toward a win for the "No" unionists.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 6:53 PM ET

It's a 'NO' from YouGov as the predictions begin in earnest

International pollsters at YouGov expect the results of Scotland's referendum won't be so historic, after all:

But pundits and journalists, even as they speculate on the outcome, say it's still to early to call.

Getting tired of all the hand-wringing? The Guardian's keeping it simple at arethescotsindependentyet.com.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 5:27 PM ET

And now, we wait ... and British media say all the things they couldn't say all day

Polls have officially closed in Scotland, where it's just past 10 p.m. Voting booths are still open, however, so that anyone who got in line before the deadline can cast their ballot.

With the close of the polls, UK residents can expect a sudden flood of information they've been spared all day.

Senior correspondent Corinne Purtill explains from Glasgow:

If you'd turned on a television in Britain just hours ago, you wouldn't know that one of the biggest moments in British electoral history is underway.

UK law forbids any reporting that could influence the election while the polls are open. No interviewing people outside polling stations, no stories on surprisingly high or low turnouts in particular strongholds, nothing. David Cameron could streak down Edinburgh's Royal Mile in nothing but a "Yes"-printed Speedo and it probably wouldn't be on the BBC until the polls close at 10 p.m. (This has not been confirmed, by the way.)

The law is intended to prevent any reporting that could discourage voter turnout or otherwise influence the election. Threatened with fines, UK media outlets police themselves carefully.

That's why this morning, as record-breaking numbers of Scots went to the polls for a vote that could change the course of the nation's history, the two biggest news morning shows ran features on the popularity of beards (BBC) and the ALS ice bucket challenge (Sky News).

But what about the moving maps? The pundits? The endless, empty chatter to fill hours upon hours of dead air? Is it possible that democracy can function without them??

Nobody tell John King.

Watch this space tonight for more on the results.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 4:48 PM ET

From love ballads to punk anthems, here's a soundtrack to see you through the night

Freedom! Anarchy! Something in between?

Whatever happens after the results of Thursday's referendum vote in Scotland, you can be sure there's a song to capture it.

We know this because GlobalPost's editorial team has spent the day singing them. All of them.

All together now!

UPDATE: 9/18/14 4:40 PM ET

Just 20 more minutes 'til the polls close...

But if you're in line, you can still vote!

Ballots from around the country are starting to come in.

And there's still a whole lot of counting to do. It's going to be a late night for Scotland.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 2:53 PM ET

No matter how this vote goes, you'd better be ready with some profanity

The country is split and passions are high. When passions are high, people tend to start insulting each other, and Scots have some amazing insults at their disposal.

So here are some of the words and phrases that might help you understand what everyone's saying.

Spoiler: there are a lot of words for "idiot" and "dirty."

UPDATE: 9/18/14 2:36 PM ET

Scotland did actually plan ahead for this whole independence thing

Late last November, the Scottish National Party released no fewer than 649 pages of details on how it planned to relaunch Scotland as an independent nation.

The document sought to address many unanswered questions: Would an independent Scotland keep the British pound? Would it raise its own army? Will there be passport checks at the border? And for the love of God — will it have its own Eurovision contestant?

Luckily, GlobalPost senior correspondent Corinne Purtill broke down that tome of a "mission statement" into six key points, like this one:

Remember March 24, 2016. That’s the day Scotland’s independence would become official if the referendum passes.

Read the rest here.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 1:41 PM ET

If every separatist movement in Europe got its own country, this is what the map might look like

Scots aren't the only Europeans clamoring for independence. Did you know Greenland is still technically ruled by Denmark? Weird, right? (More on that from GlobalPost's Paul Ames here.)

From Catalonia to Bavaria to Flanders to Wales, dozens of longstanding independence movements could look to build on Scotland's momentum and seriously shake up the European map.

The European Free Alliance, a group of "40 progressive nationalist, regionalist and aotonomous parties throughout the European Union," put together this map of what Europe would look like if its members became independent nations. (Note: Not all regions seeking independence in Europea have joined the European Free Alliance, so the group's map has some omissions.) 

Read Tim McGrath's full story on this here.

European Free Alliance

H/T Business Insider.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 11:49 AM ET

What we lose without an exit poll

Today's historic vote is taking place without an exit poll, and James Ball over at The Guardian explains why the absence of the data will leave observers "short-changed":

If the polls turn out to be wrong, and yes wins, we won’t know whether it’s because 16- to 17-year-olds, given the vote for the first time, turned out en masse, or whether it’s because of a last-minute change of heart among pensioners (who currently lean towards no). This detail and data is what lets academics, journalists and politicians alike work out what really happened and how voters act. No other way of getting the information is nearly as reliable.

Read the rest on The Guardian.

 

UPDATE: 9/18/14 10:31 AM ET

'I think it will liberate the whole UK,' this Englishman says

UPDATE: 9/18/14 10:09 AM ET

If you like Scotch, you might want to pay attention to today's referendum

"Scotch whisky is the third-largest contributor to Scotland's GDP after the oil industry and financial services," Michelle Caruso-Cabrera of CNBC reports. "And it acts as perhaps the No. 1 ambassador for Scottish culture. Nine out of 10 bottles are sent overseas."

UPDATE: 9/18/14 9:40 AM ET

'Should Scotland be an independent country?'

From an interesting piece in The Economist on why the wording of the ballot question matters:

How does framing affect the Scottish referendum? The Electoral Commission was right to remove "Do you agree that…". The clause implies that whoever is asking is a nationalist and that it would be contrarian to disagree. But the Yes campaign is nonetheless fortunate. The revised question emphasises independence, a gain, rather than severance, a loss.

Read the rest on The Economist.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 9:23 AM ET

On the Auld Alliance

"Scotland, which is just now voting on independence, is also, we’re told, acting against its self-evident economic interests—or, at the very least, acting with huge, unfunded optimism," writes Adam Gopnick in The New Yorker. "Once again, as is so often the case in the twentieth century, the atavistic thrill of nationalism is ballooned up by the blithe certainty that it will somehow magically lead to a progressive paradise."

Read the full piece here

UPDATE: 9/18/14 9:05 AM ET

'These people don't know what they're getting into'

GlobalPost's Corinne Purtill is out and about in Glasgow, talking to voters and campaigners. This is what they're saying:

"I wear these to confuse nosy people." -Graeme Campbell, 50. Voted #Yes by post as he's currently living in a homeless shelter and has no fixed address.

"I'd move back in a heartbeat. I just need an opportunity." -Glaswegian Victoria Allison, 34, lives in London and thus can't vote. She took leave from her job as a lawyer to come help with the campaign.

"These people don't know what they're getting into." -#BetterTogether voter Jordan Morrison, 19.

...and singing en route to the polls:

UPDATE: 9/18/14 8:21 AM ET

Here's another video on the Scottish referendum

Do watch this smart video produced by The Guardian on the Scottish referendum featuring summaries of the riveting (and convoluted) history of the country and a brief (but breathtaking) musical interlude.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 8:03 AM ET

These tiny islands may hold the key to Scotland’s independence

GlobalPost's Corinne Purtill reports:

The Shetland flag — a Scandinavian-style white cross on a background of azure blue — flutters on far more poles than either the Union Jack or Scottish Saltire.

It reflects locals' common refrain that they don’t see themselves as Scots. Or Brits. They're Shetlanders, period.

"You don’t get people here playing bagpipe or wearing tartan or speaking of the Jacobite revolution or any of that," says Brian Nicholson, a musician and owner of High Level Music in Lerwick.

Read more here.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 7:45 AM ET

Have you heard about Scotland's OTHER big vote?

"The referendum on independence isn't the only historic vote taking place in Scotland this Thursday," writes Peter Geoghegan. "While around four million Scots are choosing whether to go it alone or to stay with the United Kingdom, about 2,500 male members of The Royal & Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews will decide another issue that has split opinion across the land: whether women should be allowed to join one of the world’s oldest and most famous golf clubs."

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club: Like Downton Abbey, but without ladies. (David Cannon, AFP/Getty Images)

Read on here.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 7:28 AM ET

Mulling over voting decisions on a bus ride in Glasgow

GlobalPost's Corinne Purtill sends in this dispatch from GLASGOW, UK:

At 10 a.m. this morning, two women boarded the x19 bus on Glasgow's West George Street and sat on opposite sides of the aisle.

They didn't know each other. Neither wanted to give their name.

"I don't like change," the first one said. She'd just finished a three-hour cleaning shift at a university.

She was heading home to Easterhouse, a poor neighborhood 30 minutes east of Central Glasgow. She was stopping at her local polling station on the way.

"I was no," the other woman said. "I changed my mind. I'm voting yes now."

"Food banks, I think." That's what swayed her. The 56-year-old said she found it appalling that there were people going hungry in this country. 

"They're both liars, in't they?" she said of the politicians on both sides of the referendum debate. Given that, she said, she was ready to try something new. "It can't be any worse, can it?"

"Aye, that's true," the younger lady across the aisle said. "It can't be any worse. I'm a pensioner. And I still got to work to live. Listening to you talking, I don't know..."

"It's for my granweens [grandkids] and everything like that," the other woman said firmly. 

"Maybe I'm selfish," the No voter said, looking out the window. "As long as I'm getting my money.."

The bus stopped on Gartloch Road, in a working class neighborhood of East Glasgow.

"That's my Yes flag, there!" The younger woman said as she got off the bus, pointing to one of the saltires hanging from an apartment block window.

The bus rumbled on toward easterhouse, a cluster of housing projects and grassy fields. At her stop the older woman got off and walked toward the polling station at Bannatyne House, a community center.

At the gate, she paused. "I don't know," she said. "Now I don't know." Then she went inside to vote.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 6:58 AM ET

Polls galore!

There's been no dearth of polls during the entire campaign.

This is a revealing one from Ipsos MORI, a UK and Ireland research company, on how rich and poor regions might vote:

Another Ipsos MORI poll, published in the London Evening Standard, shows that it's still really, really close:

UPDATE: 9/18/14 6:40 AM ET

'I've waited all my life for this vote'

"I've waited all my life for this vote." Ian McCallum, 67. Secretly left a handful of pens in the voting booth because he's worried someone will erase pencil votes.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 6:07 AM ET

All you need to know about Scotland

Some fascinating fact and figures about Scotland from Agence France-Presse:

Scotland is home to nearly 5.3 million people, mostly concentrated in the southern lowlands. Its territory extends up to the Shetland Islands which are closer to the Norwegian coast than to the capital Edinburgh.

Here is a factfile for Thursday's independence referendum:

Population and cities

Population (2011): 5,295,400

Capital: Edinburgh

Biggest city: Glasgow

National symbols

Flag: Saint Andrew's Cross (white saltire on a blue field)

Patron saint: Saint Andrew 

National day: November 30, Saint Andrew's Day

National anthem: None. "Flower of Scotland" commonly used at sporting events.

Floral emblem: Thistle

National heroes: Robert the Bruce (king), Robert Burns (poet), William Wallace (independence leader)

Demography

Main ethnic groups: According to the 2011 census: White Scottish (84 percent); White other British (7.9 percent); Other White (1.9 percent); White Polish (1.2 percent); White Irish (1.0 percent); Pakistani (0.9 percent); Black or Caribbean Scottish (0.12 percent)

Main religions: Church of Scotland (32.4 percent); Roman Catholic (15.9 percent); other Christian (5.5 percent); Islam (1.4 percent); Hinduism (0.3 percent)

Economy

Currency: pound sterling Gross domestic product: £130 billion (£24,300 per capita) on-shore; £148 billion (£27,700 per capita) including geographical share of off-shore activity — about the same as Austria.

Growth: 1.0 percent during the first quarter of 2014; 2.6 percent on same period last year. Unemployment (January-March): 6.4 percent

Total value of exports (2012): £26 billion, excluding oil and gas. 

Top export: Whisky (£4.3 billion)

Top export destinations (2012): Rest of UK, United States, Netherlands, France, Germany, Norway.

Oil and gas: Projected revenues from the offshore energy industry, with the Scottish government predicting up to £38.7 billion over the next five years. Britain is forecasting £17.6 billion.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 5:49 AM ET

Young voters could play a major role in deciding Scotland's future

An interesting read from GlobalPost partner NBC News: Will Scotland's independence referendum be decided by teen voters?

From the piece:

More than 110,000 16 and 17-year-olds are among the 4.2 million Scottish voters taking part after the age of eligibility was lowered from 18. With opinion polls suggesting the result is on a knife-edge, every vote counts in the decision that could end Scotland’s 307-year-old union with England.

That means high school students, some of whom went to the ballot boxes early Thursday in their school uniforms, could swing the balance for or against the breakup of America's oldest global ally.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 5:36 AM ET

Dramatic front pages of UK newspapers

See any other striking #indyref front pages of newspapers from around the globe? Send us the photo(s) to @globalpost, and we'll feature it in our live blog!

UPDATE: 9/18/14 5:21 AM ET

Proof that the sun does set on the British empire

If Scotland does becomes independent this week, it will join a long list of nations that have freed themselves from the Empire's chokehold.

The map below by GlobalPost's Simran Khosla shows you all the countries that used to be part of the British Empire.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 4:41 AM ET

This is brilliant

Props to The Guardian for this excellent interactive:

UPDATE: 9/18/14 4:29 AM ET

Here's how UK politicians messed up the case for the union

GlobalPost's Corinne Purtill writes:

Westminster’s political leaders seemed to be on cruise control when it came to the referendum — until a poll two weeks ago suddenly showed the Yes side ahead. The whole experience has been a deeply humbling one for the UK’s governing elite.

The Better Together campaign has warned that a Yes vote could lead to a loss of jobs. One of the first to go could be Prime Minister David Cameron’s.

The prime minister could face a rebellion after Thursday’s vote, regardless of the outcome — either from MPs furious that he managed to lose the union, or from those appalled at the promises for greater powers and funding for Scotland he’s been authorizing over the last two weeks.

Read the full story here.

UPDATE: 9/18/14 4:00 AM ET

Will Scotland have a record-breaking voter turnout?

GlobalPost correspondent Corinne Purtill reports:

Nearly every eligible Scot — 97 percent — has registered to vote. More than 80 percent are expected to cast a ballot in Thursday’s election.

Here's what it's up against:

 

UPDATE: 9/18/14 3:00 AM ET

A historic day

The voting has begun! Scots are lining up at polling stations to decide the future of their country.

Will Scotland remain a part of the United Kingdom in the next 24 hours? GlobalPost will have live updates for you on social media and on our liveblog. Our senior correspondent Corinne Purtill is in Scotland right now. Watch this space for her coverage, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates.

In the lead up to the race, Purtill has pulled together some in-depth coverage and analysis. In her most recent piece, she breaks down exactly what is at stake for Scotland with this referendum:  

No one knows what Great Britain will look like when it wakes up to the results in the early morning hours Friday. Only one thing is certain, 34-year-old Loudon of the Yes campaign, said.

"Regardless of which way the vote goes, Scotland will never, ever be the same."

Here's another great resource — The Guardian has put together a quick snapshot of the key points of the referendum:

And ICYMI, John Oliver's got the snappiest (and most hilarious) summary of the Scottish vote:

 

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