It is still to early to be absolutely certain, but it looks as though No has won – and that Scotland has voted to stay in the Union by a convincing margin.
Conservative MPs will greet the convincing margin for No with relief, before going on to ask some very hard questions about where it leaves Scotland, England, the constitution and the country (not to mention the Conservative Party).
For all of David Cameron’s eloquent support for the Union, many of them have told anyone who cares to listen this week that Downing Street’s contribution to the campaign has been an exercise in short-term tactics at the expense of long-term strategy – and, given the winning margin of the No Vote (some will add), deeply flawed tactics at that.
Cameron’s gambit was to make a “vow” with the other two main party leaders that offers more to Scotland but nothing to England (or to Wales and Scotland either).
More on that later. In the meantime, it’s worth reporting that the range of feelings among Tory MPs towards the Party leadership during the last few days has run from disquiet through frustration through exasperation to anger. Most expect Parliament to be recalled next week.
Some also want the 1922 Committee to meet to discuss Number Ten’s handling of the referendum (and what comes next) regardless of whether Parliament is recalled or not – which, on balance, it probably will be. A brief session towards the end of the week would leave Labour’s conference uninterrupted.