Fraser Nelson and James Forsyth acknowledge that yesterday’s vote in Scotland hasn’t finally settled anything:
This referendum was meant to settle the question of Scottish independence for good. But few believe it has done that. ‘We have heard the settled will of the Scottish people,’ said the Prime Minister. Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign, said, ‘The people of Scotland have spoken — we have chosen unity over division.’ Both will have known this to be untrue. There is no such thing as the settled will of the Scottish people, and almost half of them chose division. As one Labour insider admits, ‘There’s no way this is over.’
As we have already seen, instead of settling anything the referendum has produced new promises of devolution for Scotland and increased demands in England for significant changes to the current system. The former probably can’t or won’t be honored, since they were made on the fly without the consent of the rest of the U.K., and that will eventually mean another referendum. In that case, unionists won’t be able to make credible offers of greater devolution, and that would make it more difficult to avert independence later on. Since the unionist side relied heavily on older voters, the next time that the question is asked the electorate will probably be much more inclined to back independence than they were yesterday. The union was “saved” by pledging to give it a drastic overhaul, and unless the government makes good on that promise it has simply delayed the inevitable.