The United Kingdom will stay united: Scotland has rejected independence. With the votes counted in the nation's historic referendum, results show those in favor of keeping the 307-year union with England won 55% to 45%. Those against independence received a massive boost by strongly taking Edinburgh, the capital, and Aberdeen, the nation's oil center. The average turnout was 86%—a record high for any Scottish election. Scottish nationalist leader Alex Salmond conceded defeat, adding, "Let us not dwell on the distance we've fallen short, let us dwell on the distance we've traveled." Indeed, the skilled 59-year-old leader of the Scottish National Party won a promise of new (though somewhat unspecified) powers for Scotland from rattled London politicians.
Saying she was "personally bitterly disappointed" with the results, deputy SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon told the BBC that Scottish nationalists "need to pick ourselves up and move on." Britain's leaders had argued successfully that Scots are better off staying part of the United Kingdom with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The result saves British Prime Minister David Cameron from a historic defeat and also helps opposition chief Ed Miliband by keeping his many Labour Party lawmakers in Scotland in place. His party would have found it harder to win a national election in 2015 without that support from Scotland. (Read more Scotland stories.)