i Editor's Letter: The campaigning is over. So now we wait...


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Momentary calm. Short of taxiing people to polling stations, there is nothing more campaigners can do. Has the Yes campaign, fronted by Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, done enough to persuade voters in Scotland to choose independence when they leave their homes this morning?

You will not find any foaming entreaties in i demanding that you vote one way or another. Independence has been debated as heatedly here as in any other workplace, but we see our job as arming you with the facts, fairly and accurately – alongside a full range of opinion.

Some of you will be devastated by the result, others energised. Inquests for the losers can wait til another day. If today’s vote is a narrow No, Scottish independence will not leave the political agenda. Appetite has been whetted. If it is a narrow No, Westminster will have failed to answer the questions asked of it these past two years. The Westminster leaders have anyway pledged to start transferring powers to Holyrood. How long before a clamour begins in Cardiff, or English regions, for more control?

If today’s vote is Yes, great challenges (and opportunities) will be posed for the people of Scotland and  the rest of the United Kingdom as we try to adjust to the new reality.

Beyond the anger and recrimination that coloured these last days of campaigning, we should step into the future with optimism. The level of public engagement in this referendum will draw comment  and admiration around the globe. Sixteen-year-olds have been empowered, showing themselves to be valuable members of the demos – and to me it seems ever more urgent that they be enfranchised in UK general elections. Our political leaders might also care to note the effect of making every vote count.

While activists’ campaigning has finished, for us at i, our work has only just begun. From 7am this morning, when I go on LBC Radio with Nick Ferrari, to midnight  Friday when the printers run on your Saturday morning special edition of i, the team here will work through the night to bring you the  latest news and analysis.

In today’s paper, you can find a  graphical guide to vote night, telling you when different areas of Scotland are expected to declare.  YouGov is releasing its own polling  after 10pm Thursday. The earliest  real results are expected at 2am Friday, but most will be 4am, 5am, and later in the morning. And that’s if there aren’t any recounts! We will print dawn editions in Manchester, London, Glasgow and  Edinburgh. For the final picture, turn to Saturday morning’s i, where  we have a big team of our specialist journalists ready to explain what the result will mean for you,  wherever you live in the UK.


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