Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said that the real legacy of the referendum experience must be a reinvigorated democracy.
An electoral commission report into the referendum published today said that the referendum was well run and an example to be followed. The paper found that 10 percent of the 85 percent of those who turned out to vote were voting for the first time. 109,593 of those were aged 16 and 17.
Mr Rennie said:
“This report shows that the real legacy of the referendum experience must be a reinvigorated democracy. Sadly, the experience of the referendum was the exception rather than the rule. The challenge to all political parties and to civic Scotland is to meet the bar set by the participation in the referendum.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats believe that improving local democracy is absolutely central to our efforts to drive up participation. The dismal 45 percent turnout at the 2012 local elections and the marginally better 50 percent turnout at Scottish Parliament elections demonstrate the disaffection many feel towards centralist politics.
“We can learn real lessons from the tens of thousands of 16 and 17 year olds who proudly turned out to make their voice heard. They carried themselves with distinction during the referendum. I’m sure that if we are successful in giving them the vote in the 2016 election they will again lead the way. Scottish Liberal Democrats will always stand firmly in support of any initiative to build a fairer, more democratic society.
“We will be urging SNP ministers to release their centralising grip on communities and truly give more power back to the people.”