Comment | Scottish referendum: a triumph for democracy
And the results are in. After two years of campaigning, the Scottish people have voted in favour of staying in the union.
On a personal level, I am delighted that Scotland has chosen unity over needless division. However, regardless of whether you are happy or disappointed with the result, I think we should all be hugely proud of the success of the democratic process in this referendum.
Most importantly, we should cherish the fact that the process was a peaceful one. While in countries such as Iran an election can mean wide-spread violence, thankfully in Scotland a decision was reached and then accepted without descending to such levels.
Also, the overall turnout was 84.6 percent- an astonishingly high figure. Indeed, it is one of the highest in the democratic world for any election or referendum in history. It makes a mockery of the recent UK European election, which had a turnout of a measly 34.19 percent.
Our aim for the future should be to try and replicate the high turnout that we have seen in Scotland in future elections. We have the privilege of living in a democracy where we have the ability to decide our future. Why then, do many refuse to do so? The figures from this referendum should be standard in the UK, not an anomaly. We should not be settling for the 65.1 percent turnout that we saw at the 2010 general election.
This requires greater political participation at all levels in society. The Scottish referendum has proved that it is possible to spark an enthusiasm for politics, particularly among young people. Around 100,000 of those under eighteen- 80 percent of those eligible- registered to vote in this referendum.
It is the job of those in power therefore, to find a way to reach non-voters and give them a reason to get down to the polling station in the future. Perhaps the key to a high turnout is when, as in this referendum, the people truly believe that their vote will make a difference.