Better Together win, but create the skeleton in the room

The votes have been counted and the people’s verdict has been announced.

Scotland will not become an independent country and the status quo has been retained.

Or has it? Although on the face of it the vote was for no change, things will never be the same again, not only in Scotland where a very lively skeleton, in the form of a timetable for further devolution, was announced and has been regarded by many as the turning point with which the Better Together campaign reversed the seemingly relentless march of the Yes campaigners.

But in order to put flesh on this skeleton, which was greeted with unbridled enthusiasm by the leaders of all three parties, as well as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, there must now be agreement among these leaders, and this looks far from simple.

So soon after the last ballot paper dropped in its box, the bonds which united the three bold boys from Westminster are looking gey shooglie.

It is already clear that if Scotland gets special treatment, Wales and Northern Ireland want parity.

And English Tory MPs are fizzing about Mr Cameron et al promising devolved powers to Scotland when these have not been considered at their Parliament even in general terms, far less the small print that scrutinising committees love to get their teeth into.

Pandora’s box had nothing on this - those promises are like a Tasmanian Devil kicking and screaming as it tries to fight its way out of a battered old barrel held shut by rusty nails, as Mr Cameron looks anxiously on,

A year from now Mr Cameron might feel he would have had an easier ride had there been a majority for Yes. At least he could have blamed Alex Salmond.

Mr Salmond has been seen by many pundits as having fallen on his sword, but the sword was of the making of that wily old campaigner and few people can really think that we have heard the last of him. But in the meantime we will accept that he has resigned in order to spend more time with his curry takeaway.

It was all summed up for us by the excellent cartoon in Scotland on Sunday which portrayed Mr Salmond strolling along with golf club on shoulder, but his shadow was the shadow of his certain successor, Nicola Sturgeon.

Let us at this point note that in terms of women holding the reins of power, Scotland is one of the most progressive countries in the world, with all three main parties led by women.

Locally, reaction to the result has been one of acceptance. The Review has had countless press releases from trades unions and other national bodies, praising democracy and adding a wee plug for their own vested interest.

But from local politicians, leaders and shapers of opinion, hardly a squeak. Arguably this is a sign of statesmanship, neither gloating nor crying foul.

Is Friday’s result the end of it all, with the question settled for all time? Far from it.

Many of those who voted no did so because they wanted exactly what we are getting, further stages of devolution, and at some point in the future there will be so much devolution that Independence is just a wee step further.

Better to let Westminster take the risk of mucking it up in stages, than risk Scotland messing it up in one great splurge.