Live: People of Scotland have voted for a United Kingdom, says David Cameron

11.54 am: The people of Scotland have spoken. Like millions of other people, I am delighted, says PM David Cameron in official statement

In the first official statement from 10, Downing Street, UK Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the outcome of voting on Scottish referendum. Cameron said it would have "broken his heart to see United Kingdom come to an end." The full press release is available here.

11.40 am: Must respect the rights of these voters, says David Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed Scotland's decision to stay with the United Kingdom saying "the people of Scotland have spoken; they have kept our country of four nations together." Prime Minister Cameron added that "the United Kingdom must come together after the referendum as there now is a great opportunity to change the way British people are governed, for the better. "We have heard the voice of Scotland - and now the millions of voices of England must not go ignored. Just as Scotland will have more power over their affairs, it follows that England, Wales and Northern Ireland must have a bigger say over theirs. "The rights of these voters must be respected."

11.28 am: Cameron congratulates leader of the Scottish National Party Alex Salmond on the "hard fought campaign."

 

11.00 am: First Minister of Scotland says he 'accepts verdict' of Scottish people

Alex Salmond, current First Minister of Scotland has accepted the verdict of the Scottish people and called on his supporters to do the same.

"I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic will of the people of Scotland," he said in televised remarks.

"I think the process by which we have made our decision as a nation reflects enormous credit upon Scotland. A turnout of 86% is one of the highest of the democratic world, in any election or any referendum in history", he said.

Salmond went on to thank the 1.6 million Scottish voters who voted in favour of independence.

10.43 am: It's official. Scotland has voted 'No'

And it's official. All the results are in and Scotland has voted 'No' to independence. With an unprecedented voter turn out of 84.5% percent, 1,877,252 voted 'No' as opposed 1,512,688 who said Yes.

In percentage terms, that is 55.4 percent to 44.6 percent.

 Live: People of Scotland have voted for a United Kingdom, says David Cameron

But Britain should take note of the vote, say political analysts.

Andrew Black of the BBC says:

And so, Scotland was asked, and, it seems, a nation has answered.

Even though the predicted "No" result in the Scottish independence referendum will see it remain in the United Kingdom, the nation has changed forever. While voters in Scotland expressed a desire to keep the nation in the UK, it's also become clear the current devolution settlement is not enough.

The Yes camp appeared resigned to defeat. Saying she was "personally bitterly disappointed" with the results, Deputy Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon told BBC that Scottish nationalists "need to pick ourselves up and move on."

Britain's leaders had argued successfully that Scots are better off staying part of the United Kingdom with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The decision to reject independence will ease the worries of some business leaders who had warned they would have to shift their headquarters away from Scotland to England if Scots voted to become independent.

9.53 am: BBC calls election, says Scotland will reject independence

The BBC has called the election in favour of the 'No' camp.

According to the official blog on the site,

"The BBC is predicting on the basis of 26 results declared so far that the "No" side are going to win the referendum with 55% of the vote while "Yes" will secure 45% of the vote. This margin of victory is some three points greater than that anticipated by the final opinion polls."

It also quoted Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as saying that the projected result is "a deep personal and political disappointment" but argues that "the country has been changed forever".

Sky News has also called the referendum in favour of the 'No' camp.

9.35 am: Glasgow says 'Yes' to independence, this isn't over yet 

It's not over till it's over.

The 'Yes' camp seems to be clawing back into contention in the Scotland vote, and scored a massive victory when Glasgow voted in favour of independence.

The lead of the 'No' camp has fallen to around 53 percent of the vote, from 56 percent earlier.

The Glasgow result:

"Yes" wins by 194,779 to 169,347.
That's 53.5% for "Yes" and 46.5% for "No".
Total votes 364,664. Turnout 75%.

According to Brian Taylor, the BBC Political editor:

Lord Reid, the former Labour cabinet minister, says the vote for "Yes" is partly a protest against poverty. He argues that must be heeded. Adds to my argument that there will be a popular expectation of change.

9.12 am: Britain rejoice? 17 of 32 assemblies vote 'No' to independence

It looks like Scotland is going to stay with Britain after all.

Associated Press

Associated Press

Results for 17 constituencies are now in and the 'No' camp has garnered 56.2 percent of the vote, which shows that it is pulling ahead.

According to this report in the BBC, a 'No' vote will come as a huge relief for the powers that be, but it will bring its own set of complications:

"David Cameron would not go down as the prime minister who lost the United Kingdom. He would not be forced out of office. Ed Miliband would not go down as the Labour leader who lost Scotland to the nationalists. And Nick Clegg would not find himself working with a new prime minister."

"But the political consequences of a No vote would be huge. This is because Westminster has vowed to say yes to more devolution. The leaders of the three largest UK parties have promised that the Scots would get more powers over their taxes, welfare and spending."

8.45 am: Ten assembly results declared, 'Yes' camp pulls ahead

The results of nine assemblies are now out, and the 'No' camp is still marginally ahead. According to the latest tally, the No camp is pulling ahead, extending its slim lead to 52.4 percent of the vote, while the Yes camp is at 47.6 percent. In terms of real votes, the Yes camp has 232,516 votes while the No camp has 241,559 votes.

Here is an amazing infographic from the Guardian showing the progress of votes so far. You can check it out in real time here. Voting is at an unprecedented 86.1 percent.

Screen shot 2014-09-19 at 8.49.10 AM

 

8.25 am: Why the Bengalis in Scotland have voted 'No'

Most of the Bengalis in Scotland have voted 'No' and expressed their displeasure at the country's move to separate from the UK. While you might be tempted to say that, like Bengalis back home, they too are anxious about the future of good Scotch, but that's not the case.

According to a report on The Telegraph, all the Bengali families in Scotland the paper had spoken to, were worried about Scotland's economic future and political stability once it's on its own.

The Telegraph reports on their anxiety as follows:

"Under the terms of separation, Dipankar Dutta reckons Scotland would get just a few thousand soldiers and a handful of small naval vessels — which would make Scotland vulnerable to penetration by extremist groups.

It is a unique point that no one has made so far. “Now, Scotland is protected by England. If an independent Scotland was attacked, who could they turn to but England? So why take a risk? The main problem is, how will Scotland cope with so many unknown factors?”"

7.44 am: Here's why your favourite Scotch might get costlier if Scotland parts ways with England

Now it would be a quite a shame if the Scots decided to separate from the UK at the risk of endangering what makes the country of deep interest to the rest of the world, say from the US to India. No prizes for guessing, we are talking about its whisky industry.

According to reports, the brewing industry is worried about the consequences of Scotland separating from the United Kingdom. Since the Royal Bank of Scotland has threatened to move base to England if the Scots separate from UK, the country might be left with the whisky business as its most important industry. However, the political and economic uncertainty don't bode well for it.

A report on Vox states: "Like any other industry, the Scottish whisky distillers dislike economic uncertainty. And between questions about what currency an independent Scotland would use and the will-they-or-won't-they of whether the European Union would let Scotland join, Scottish independence would bring about a lot of uncertainty. So it makes sense that the distilling industry would be wary of breaking away.

The Scotch Whisky Association isn't officially opposing independence, but its spokesperson told CNBC that "the consensus within the Scotch industry is that the potential risks outweigh the advantages."

And it's not just the Scots who need to be anxious, Scotch aficionados from across the world should worry about the implications of the Scots separating from UK - the price of Scotch might increase manifold.

“A ‘Yes’ vote will likely drive up the prices of single-malt scotch in the short term,” Josh Green, CEO and co-founder of Panjiva Inc., a data-based global trade analysis firm, told International Business Times. He added that with the political turbulence, and the renewed interest in the country, the demand for Scotch might shoot up. However, there is no assurance that the industry will be able to meet the new demand.

7.20 am: Early trends show that Scotland might not be ready to leave UK as yet

The latest counting trends in Scotland shows that a  majority of the voters might not be ready to leave UK yet. Voters were asked, 'should Scotland be an independent country' and were expected to cast their ballot in the affirmative or the negative. The initial rounds of counting shows that the ones who said 'no' are in the lead as of now.

CBC News reports, "Clackmannanshire, the first region to report, was a win for the No vote, with 54 per cent rejecting an independent Scotland, compared to 46 per cent for the Yes campaign. In Orkney, the No side won roughly 67 per cent to 33 per cent. In Shetland, another big win for the No side — 64 per cent to 36 per cent. The No side also won in Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, 53 per cent to 47 per cent."

The trends it seems are in line with many pre-poll predictions. Mirror reported that, "A YouGov survey predicts a 54% vote for No and 46% for Yes from a huge turnout that was nearly 100% in parts of Scotland."

7.10 am: Here's a timeline on the Scotland Independence Vote

7. oo am: Scotland witnessed huge turn-out in Independence Vote

From the capital of Edinburgh to the far-flung Shetland Islands, Scots embraced a historic moment — and the rest of the United Kingdom held its breath — after voters turned out in unprecedented numbers for an independence referendum that could end the country's 307-year union with England.

After the polls closed late Thursday, many Scots settled in to stay up all night in homes and bars, awaiting the result that could change their lives, shake financial markets worldwide and boost other independence movements from Flanders to Catalonia to Quebec.

People who want to separate from England campaign for a 'YES' vote. AFP.

People who want to separate from England campaign for a 'YES' vote. AFP.

"Why not roll the dice for once?" Yes supporter Thomas Roberts said at one Edinburgh polling station. "I'm going to sit with a beer in my hand watching the results coming in."

A nationwide count began immediately at 32 regional centers across Scotland. At Highland Hall outside of Edinburgh, where the final result will be announced later Friday, vote-counters at dozens of tables sorted through paper ballots, watched keenly by monitors from the Yes and No camps.

Early turnout totals for a number of regions ranged from 75 percent to over 90 percent, among the highest levels seen in decades.

The first of the 32 results saw a 54-46 percent No victory in the central district of Clackmannanshire. Results from the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow were not expected for several hours.

Eager voters had lined up outside some polling stations even before they opened Thursday. More than 4.2 million people had registered to vote — 97 percent of those eligible — including residents as young as 16.

For some, it was a day they had dreamed of for decades. For others, the time had finally come to make up their minds about the future — both for themselves and for the United Kingdom.

"Fifty years I fought for this," said 83-year-old Isabelle Smith, a Yes supporter in Edinburgh's maritime district of Newhaven, a former fishing port. "And we are going to win. I can feel it in my bones."

After polls closed, some No campaigners said they were confident they had swayed enough undecided voters to stave off independence. They may have been helped by a last-minute offer from Britain's main political parties for more powers for Scotland if they reject secession, and by fears about the future of Britain's pensions and the National Health Service in an independent Scotland.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was expected to make a televised address about Britain's future Friday morning after the result was announced.

The question on the ballot could not be simpler: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Yet it has divided Scots during months of campaigning, generating an unprecedented volume and intensity of public debate and participation. The Yes side, in particular, has energized young people and previously disillusioned working-class voters.

Polls suggest the result was too close to call. A final Ipsos MORI poll released Thursday put support for the No side at 53 percent and Yes at 47 percent. The phone survey of 991 people has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Many questions — the currency an independent Scotland would use, its status within the 28-nation European Union and NATO, the fate of Britain's nuclear-armed submarines, based at a Scottish port — remain uncertain or disputed after months of campaigning.

One thing was known: A Yes vote would trigger 18 months of negotiations between Scottish leaders and London-based politicians on how the two countries would separate their institutions before Scotland's planned Independence Day on March 24, 2016.

After weeks in which the British media talked of little else, the television airwaves were almost a referendum-free zone Thursday due to electoral rules. On the streets, it was a different story, with rival Yes and No billboards and campaigners outside many polling places.

For Smith, who went to the polling station decked out in a blue-and-white pro-independence shirt and rosette, statehood for Scotland was a dream nurtured during three decades living in the U.S. with her late husband.

"The one thing America has that the Scots don't have is confidence," said Smith, who returned to Scotland years ago. "But they're getting it, they're walking tall."

Yes campaigners insisted Scots would not allow a return to the status quo, even if the independence bid failed.

"Whatever happens, Scotland is going to be different," said Luke Campbell, a member of the Radical Independence Movement.

But some No supporters said the pro-independence campaign had fueled bad feeling among neighbors.

"The country is divided with a hatchet. It's so awful — and it was completely unnecessary," said Fiona Mitchell, distributing No leaflets outside a polling station.

If the Yes side prevails, First Minister Alex Salmond will have realized a long-held dream of leading his country to independence from an alliance with England that was formed in 1707.

"This is our opportunity of a lifetime and we must seize it with both hands," Salmond said in his final pre-vote speech.

Pro-independence forces got a last-minute boost Thursday from tennis star Andy Murray, who signaled his support of the Yes campaign in a tweet to his 2.7 million followers.

Anti-independence leaders, including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, himself a Scot, have implored Scots not to break their links with the rest of the United Kingdom and have stressed the economic uncertainties that independence would bring. There have been fierce disputes over whether an independent Scotland could use the pound and several companies have said they would move their headquarters from Scotland to England if the Yes vote prevails.

Many Yes supporters were heading to symbolic spots like Calton Hill overlooking Edinburgh — hoping the sun would rise Friday on a new dawn of independence and not just a hangover.

But financial consultant Michael MacPhee, a No voter, said he would observe the returns coming in "with anxiety."

Scottish independence is "the daftest idea I've ever heard," he said.

Associated Press

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Updated Date: Sep 19, 2014 15:04:14 IST