There will be no Scottish Olympic team at the 2016 Games in Rio. James Bond can keep his passport. Hogwarts will remain under the British Ministry of Magic's control. The Union Jack will fly unchanged. After two years of debating the promise and pitfalls that independence could bring, 3.6 million Scottish voters cast their ballots on Thursday—and 55 percent of them decided to stay in the United Kingdom.
Although the 'No' campaign won in the end, British Prime Minister David Cameron's all-or-nothing strategy on Scottish independence failed. During referendum negotiations with Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond two years ago, Cameron pushed for a yes-or-no vote in the hopes of spooking voters into choosing the latter. But when a YouGov poll two weeks ago showed the 'Yes' campaign in the lead for the first time, he and other U.K. leaders suddenly reversed course and pledged far greater powers to Scottish voters if they remained in the union. They decided to do so. The prime minister had wanted a choice between independence or the status quo. Instead, he had to offer independence or devolution of powers to save the United Kingdom. Now he has to deliver the latter.
So what are those powers? First, the three major U.K. party leaders pledged to make the Scottish Parliament a permanent and irrevocable institution. They also agreed not to dismantle the Barnett formula, which allocates extra annual public spending to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. New powers on taxation and welfare policy for Holyrood, as the Scottish Parliament is known, will also be coming, according to Gordon Brown, the Scottish-born former British prime minister who played a crucial role in saving the union. His timetable for a "modern form of home rule" envisions a new Scotland Act for the U.K. Parliament to debate by the end of January in consultation with its Scottish counterpart.