Sunday, 21 September 2014

Referendum 'No' - but Three Towns vote 'YES'

Around 5.00am on Friday morning (September 19), Elma Murray, Counting Officer for North Ayrshire, announced that electors across the district had narrowly voted for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom.

With a very high turnout of 84.4% and a total of 96,173 votes cast at 158 Polling Stations across North Ayrshire, the final result was: ‘YES’ – 47,072 (49%)    ‘No’ – 49,016 (51%).  The majority for remaining in the UK was just 1,944. 

The turnout for Scotland as a whole almost mirrored North Ayrshire at 84.5%, but there was a larger majority for remaining in the UK.  The national total for votes cast was: ‘YES’ – 1,617,989 (45%)   ‘No’ – 2,001,926 (55%).

Although ‘No’ secured a small majority across North Ayrshire as a whole, areas within the district voted differently.  When the results were broken-down into Council Wards, four supported ‘YES’ and four ‘No’.  The Three Towns of Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston all voted for an independent Scotland.  The full Council Ward outcomes were:

Ardrossan & Arran: YES
Saltcoats & Stevenston: YES
Irvine West: YES
Irvine East: YES
Kilwinning: No
Dalry & West Kilbride: No
Kilbirnie & Beith: No
North Coast & Cumbraes: No  

A major factor in the pro-British Union side securing victory in the referendum is believed to be the promise by the three main Unionist parties – Tory, Labour, Lib Dems – to deliver more powers to the devolved Scottish Parliament.  The promise – described as a ‘vow’ by party leaders David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg – was made just days before the referendum and came after a poll showed ‘YES’ ahead.

Following the ‘No’ victory, local Labour MP Katy Clark Tweeted, “Scotland has been through a hugely emotional time.  It can’t be business as usual – we must deliver real social and political change.”

In response, Cllr Alan Hill, SNP Deputy Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said, “Make sure you do, Katy.  You have the mandate, you made the vow, you’d better deliver.  If you don’t, you’ll be held to account.”

However, within hours of the result being announced, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband MP said he did not support the UK Government plan regarding devolving powers to the Scottish Parliament.  Cllr Hill then Tweeted to Ms Clark, “Can you explain Miliband’s comments today, Katy?  How do ‘No’ voters who feel they’ve been duped change their vote?”

A spokesperson for the YES campaign in the Three Towns reflected on the referendum, saying, “There has been nothing but lies on the media for months but already the brutal truth is emerging.  Maybe the 55% [who voted No] will gradually learn what they have actually done.” 

Looking to the future, the spokesperson encouraged YES supporters to remain engaged and campaigning, stating, “Nothing worth having ever came easy.  It will be all the sweeter when it does finally come.”

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