Monday 22nd September 2014


As I write this column, bleary eyed from just two hours of sleep, I can’t help but feel a sense of relief that the Referendum campaign has finally come to an end. I’m sure many of you will feel the same.

It’s been an exciting campaign of course, with the debates and discussions taking place on the doorsteps, in living rooms and town halls. I was heartened by the record turnout which saw over three and a half million people casting their votes and I’m glad that in the end the majority of Scots voted to stick together.

I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all those who contributed to the debate on both sides and who argued passionately for what they believed to be in the best interests of their country and I hope the level of political engagement continues as we move forward.

The Yes side will understandably be disappointed.  I have been on the losing end myself and it’s not nice. But I think we can all take some comfort from the great debate which has been taking place between neighbours, friends and family. And I think it’s important that as we move forward we focus on what unites us rather than what divides us.

The final result was not just about the constitution. There is real desire among the people of Scotland to change the sort of country we want to be.

Now that we have settled the constitutional question, the challenge for us now, is to come together and harness the energy and enthusiasm that has been created as a result of the great debate, so that we can build the Scotland we want for our children and grandchildren. A Scotland which if fairer, more equal and more prosperous.