Democracy the real winner in Scottish referendum

The Green Party in Northern Ireland extends best wishes for the future to the people of Scotland following today’s result to remain part of the UK in the independence referendum.

Green Party NI Leader Steven Agnew said: “A lot of Scottish people woke up this morning’s feeling very happy, while almost an equal amount will be disappointed in the referendum result.

“But I don’t believe this process will leave a divided nation in its wake. The people of Scotland are resilient and share an optimism that drives them forward.

“I’m confident that Scotland will pull together as one nation and its people, regardless of how they voted in the referendum, will work towards even greater control over their own affairs in a stronger Scottish Parliament with stronger devolved powers but part of the union.

“One of the biggest and most encouraging achievements of this campaign has been the widespread electorate engagement in participatory democracy.

“Voter turnout was astonishing and shows that when politics engages the electorate in an intelligent and passionate way, citizens want to be active participants in shaping the society in which they live.

“Giving 16-year-olds the right to vote in this referendum expanded access to the democratic process even further and has hopefully energized a new generation to become involved and interested in politics.

“Both teams on either side of the debate should be congratulated for managing a long political campaign in a dignified and intelligent way which ultimately fully engaged the vast majority of Scottish citizens.

“The bold step of holding this historic referendum has fundamentally changed the political landscape of the UK and forced a re-evaluation of many long-standing political relationships.

“However, the real winner in the Scottish referendum process is democracy and for me that is inspiring.

“I believe in Northern Ireland we should try to emulate this impressive citizen engagement and follow the good examples now set by Scotland.”

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