The people of Scotland have spoken and the answer that have given is that they want to remain part of the United Kingdom. On the face of it, it seems plain enough; but is it? The historic vote yesterday in a country of which I have many friends, one ex wife and thousands of happy memories, asked more questions than it answered. I have been a political animal all my life and to see a turn out of 84% is something that we in England can only dream about. This referendum has sent a massive message to Westminster.

Scotland: Still part of the union and giving us all a lesson in democracy

For years politicians have bemoaned the fact that the electorate will not engage with politics. Well when the message is something that they can identify with and have an opinion on, they clearly can and will engage. A bunch of faceless men in suits in London have got nothing of interest to say to working class people trying to survive in the industrial north of the country. Say something that is of interest to them and they will listen, will engage and will speak. But I suppose Westminster doesn’t really want them to speak, because the message they are likely to hear is “get out and give the job to someone who cares”

Westminster will have to look at this result and change, if it doesn’t it is doomed. For almost half an entire country to want to leave, because they don’t like what they hear from London, is an enormous and valid vote of no confidence. I hope the people of England, Ireland and Wales can look at this turn out and realise that their future is in their hands. If enough people make enough noise, Parliament will have to listen and will have to change.

One change that I hope does come through this historic day is that some of the petty bigotries between Scotland and England will disappear. For far too long too many English have looked at Scotland in a patronising way. For the same length of time too many Scots show an alarming amount of racial hatred towards the English. We are all of one island, we have more in common than we have differences and we now, more than ever, need to stand together for change.

I have more friends in the ‘Yes’ campaign than I do in the ‘No’, But from a selfish point of view I am pleased that Scotland remains part of a United Kingdom. I fully understand the reasons that so many wanted out. But hating a Tory government is, for me, not the right reasons to want to throw out a union that has lasted for 300 years. They can though, certainly be proud of themselves. I know that my friends have campaigned vociferously and with passion. Whilst both sides were in danger of slipping into name calling and scare mongering, at least most of my friends resisted and fought on the issues.

I hope that no lasting damage is done, though I fear some will have been. Some of the campaigning did divide and did cause splits, even in families, that will be hard to heal. I look forward to my next visit and chewing the fat with my mates over how they perceive the future. Of one thing I am certain, Scotland has change the United Kingdom, and for the better, No longer can politicians ignore questions that need answers, no longer can we think that our voices cannot be heard and no longer can our leaders treat us with so much contempt.

I applaud you Scotland and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.