Expats in Qatar express dismay, elation after Scots vote to stay in UK
This morning, thousands of expat Britons woke up in Qatar to learn that Scotland had voted against becoming independent from the United Kingdom.
After months of debate, 55 percent of voters voted against the idea of separating from the UK, while 45 percent said yes.
Shortly after 8am, Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond spoke to his supporters to concede defeat, but made clear that the vote had not been in vain:
The referendum posed the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country.”
Overall, some 2 million voted against independence, while 1.6 million voted for it, the BBC reports. A total of 4.3 million people out of Scotland’s population of 5.3 million registered to vote.
Only residents in Scotland had the right to vote, leaving more than a million expat Scots who live in the rest of the UK or around the world without the ability to directly have a say in the future of their nation.
While the final result may not have gone the way the nationalists had hoped for, the mandate for change of the status quo was significant, and the process has opened up huge questions about the political future, not only for Scotland but also for the rest of the UK.
Meanwhile, with an average voter turnout of more than 84 percent – the highest on record in a Scotland election – many have celebrated a process that has stirred real passions and politicized a nation at home and abroad.
Qatar is home to around 20,000 Brits, according to the British Embassy in Doha. The embassy does not have any official figures for the number of Scots living here, but many work in this country’s oil and gas and engineering sectors.
Today, many British expats in Doha voiced their disappointment and delight with the results on Twitter:
And it leaves many to ponder over the future of politics in Scotland and the wider UK:
While Scotland’s most populous city Glasgow and its fourth-biggest city Dundee both voted yes to independence, nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of Edinburgh’s people voted to keep the 307-year old union. Some 60 percent of Aberdeen, home of Scotland’s oil industry, also moved to remain in the UK.
The statistics show not only a country divided, but also towns, villages and individual families split in their vision for their country’s future.
And one of the key messages to come out of the campaigning process was a sense of disenfranchisement held by many Scots that Westminster politicians do not understand or respond to Scotland’s needs.
The result poses huge questions not only for the future of Scotland, but also how the rest of the UK will be governed.
The British Prime Minister confirmed that he would be meeting with Alex Salmond to discuss “Devo-max” – devolving more powers to Scotland than it currently receives.
He also hinted that there changes to the way the rest of the UK is governed:
How do you feel about the result, and the future for the UK? Thoughts?