It appears that the nay-sayers have won the Scotland referendum: Scotland will remain a part of Great Britain after a long and contentious debate. There is no place in the world quite as pretty as the Scottish countryside. As a college student in Britain, my best holiday was to the Scottish isles: golf, long walks, and yes, a touch of Scotch! Scotland is distinctive: the accent has a lush tone to it, the kilts and the bagpipes are unique and the pubs in Edinburgh remain open till way beyond closing time in London (and, oh yes, the original James Bond, Sean Connery is a proud Scot). I can see why England doesn’t want to lose its lovely Scottish corner: it just offers Great Britain a more rich and plural heritage. I can also see why several Scots don’t want to be part of Britain: Scottish nationalism provides a badge of identity.
But while Scotland will stay within Britain and enrich the country, the referendum does reflect the need for a healing touch. Several parts of Scotland wanted independence, others did not. Scottish society appears more divided than ever before. And yet, what is heartening is to see a society and its politicians accept the final result with grace and dignity. I was watching the unfolding of the results on BBC: not once did I see noisy recrimination or the blame game which is typical of Indian politics. British democracy was resilient enough to face a referendum and emerge stronger as a result of it. The political class of that country deserves two cheers for it. The third I have reserved for the television anchors. Right through the voting, the reportage and analysis was devoid of needless noise. Sitting in Delhi, I actually got a sense of what was happening on the ground. Clearly, there is still some space left for intelligent television!