If you’ve just woken up, the UK has survived. After 26 of the 32 local declarations, the No side leads by 54 per cent to 46 per cent – and that’s before the Unionist stronghold of Edinburgh has declared. Glasgow, the largest of the electoral areas, voted Yes by 53 per cent to 47 per cent. But that was far short of the landslide that the nationalists needed. Turnout in the city was 75 per cent, also below the level they regarded as necessary for victory. The working class surge they placed so much faith in didn’t happen.
Expect the No side to move the goalposts and claim that anything close to 45 per cent is a victory for them – and they do so with some justification. Two years ago, when the referendum agreement was signed, I was regularly told by MPs that 70-30 would be a “good result” for them. But after the narrowing of the polls, the No side has been the beneficiary of low expectations. Scotland is on course to reject independence by a double-digit margin (as I predicted it would at the start of the year). After the panic of the final fortnight that feels like an achievement. And the prospect of another referendum in the near future is much diminished.