The Journal Opinion: Scottish independence voting time is here

The Journal's opinion column for Thursday, September 18, in which we look at the campaign for Scottish independence

First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond chats to school children at Strichen Primary School in Strichen as the polls open
First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond chats to school children at Strichen Primary School in Strichen as the polls open

Today, at last, is the day. Scotland is voting and, in the early hours of tomorrow, we will know whether they are voting to break up the union.

However, those who hope that this will mark an end to the debate and discussion are about to be disappointed. It will not – and nor should it.

The campaign has been long and it has been heated. And for all that has been said, there is still plenty more to say.

There are predictions that the turnout today will be very high. It certainly looks like the Scots have passionately embraced this debate. That is to their credit.

As to what they will decide – a No vote remains favourite but it is extremely close. With no recent precedents to draw on we could yet see a landslide win – for either side.

We have consistently backed a No vote. A Yes would throw up unwelcome barriers to trade and travel between our region and Scotland. It would create uncertainty and threaten cohesion.

But if the campaign has crystallised one thing it is that things must never be the same again, whichever way the vote goes.

Even if Scotland votes No it has been promised more powers – powers denied to the English regions. This situation cannot be allowed to stand – the regions must also be granted more powers.

Britain – all of it – is taking a hard look at the way it is governed. It is beginning to dawn on more and more people that we are a nation dominated to an unhealthy degree by a large, vibrant and successful capital city. All roads should not lead to London.

Tomorrow, Britain starts a new era, one which should lead to a better balanced, more universally prosperous nation. And one that includes Scotland.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
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Business Editor
Mark Douglas
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Sports Writer