Despite the disappointment of defeat and subsequent sense of resignation, Alex Salmond has secured a leading role for the Scottish Nationalist Party. Nationalists will capitalise on their success to snatch extra powers and money from Westminster. The sense of pride at plunging London´s ruling elites into utter disarray is bound to last forever.
By contrast, the Scottish Labour Party might be confined to opposition for years, deprived of its former Scottish stronghold. David Cameron has lost authority among fellow MPs and looks vulnerable to attempts aiming at ousting him from office. Liberals will simply fade into public oblivion.
Only the SNP will reap full benefits from a lost referendum. Enhanced fiscal autonomy plus a sizeable flow of funds will enable it to turn a crushing reverse into future success. The result will also spare the Scots the potentially devastating backfire effect a Yes vote could have delivered. Doubts on keeping the Sterling pound as the local currency, plus the inability to pay pensions and unemployment benefits out of oil proceedings in the long run, would have sent shock waves across the country.
The polls ensure that Scotland is not torn apart. Most citizens feel staunchly British even if they despise being governed from Westminster when Tories are in office. By attracting attention to their longstanding demands for a fairer deal, the SNP will make sure it keeps the upper hand in Scottish politics. Its bold gamble has paid off. A bad omen for other places in Europe, such as Catalonia, where nationalists are pressing for similar chances to have a say on independence.