Scotland the brave

Whatever the outcome of this week's referendum for independence, the Scots are already winners

Leaflets for the Yes campaign in Scotland's referendum. Matt Cardy / Getty Images
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Scots will go to the polls this week to be asked a question with just two possible answers: should Scotland be an independent country? Even a one-vote majority for “yes” or “no” will decide whether Scotland remains a part of the United Kingdom. The simplicity of the process may belie the high stakes, but it does speak to the great power of the ballot box.

Where violence and turmoil have failed those who feel disenfranchised elsewhere in the word, all parties in the UK have agreed that the future of Scotland will be decided peacefully by the will of its citizens.

This referendum has come about largely due to the energy and political adroitness of First Minister Alex Salmond, who almost ­single-handedly brought the Scottish National Party from the fringes to the seat of government in Edin­burgh.

Mr Salmond has said he is confident of winning independence. However, he is aware that even a no vote will see further power handed to his administration in Scotland, with possible consequences for the Welsh Assembly. By favouring debate and discourse over violence, Scotland has put itself in a win-win position.