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The indy drum has to be silent. For now at least.

Byline: Alex Bell A former adviser and speech–writer for Alex Salmond

The referendum was meant to settle Scottish politics but it has thrown it into turmoil.

Alex Salmond will stand down as First Minister and leader of the SNP as the main UK parties go into general election campaign mode.

Their first act in the run up to the 2015 vote was to break the vow of more powers for Scotland. What this means is profound.

Nicola Sturgeon will be the new party leader. The nationalists hold a majority in Holyrood and she will be unopposed.

Other candidates could run against Sturgeon for the leadership but they would not expect to win.

Sturgeon had a very good referendum campaign. She beat two secretaries of state in TV debates. She has developed an easy–going style. She knows when to laugh or to admit she doesn't have all the answers.

Her first task will be to appoint a new cabinet. Some well–known figures may feel it's time for a break from frontline politics.

In their place, she will want to promote the next generation. Derek Mackay and Humza Yousaf will be given key jobs. Sturgeon will also bring more women into the cabinet.

The next job is negotiating more powers for Holyrood.

She must balance playing along with the public school boys of Westminster with pressing Scotland's case.

She can't simply bang the independence drum as the referendum result shows most people don't want it. Sturgeon must find a formulation that allows her to argue for as many powers as possible.

The Scottish Government have no time to rest after the emotionally draining campaign.

There is the 2015 election coming up and a year later, the next Holyrood election.

It needs policies which keep the conservative Northeast support on side while retaining new supporters.

Glasgow voted Yes in the referendum. This means traditional Labour voters and people who normally don't vote are coming over to the SNP.

Under Blair, Brown and Miliband, Labour's share of the votes has been in decline. The party's grip on Scotland could be about to end.

David Cameron's plans on powers for England could mean Scottish MPs become effectively pointless – they would be limited in what they could do in Westminster.

This is why Ed Miliband rejected the Prime Minister's devolution deal. But by protecting his MPs, the Labour leader may end up betraying his vow to Scotland.

Cameron has linked more powers for England with more for Scotland. This was not part of the vow in the referendum campaign.

This clumsy trick shows his commitment to Holyrood is not worth the paper it was written on.

Amid the turmoil, the Scottish Government still need to run Scotland. There are large budget cuts coming and signs NHS spending won't meet demand. Sturgeon will face tough decisions on who gets what.

The Government have a fixed spending amount called the Barnett Formula.

That means when they protect the NHS budget and pay for elderly care, they have to take the money from other areas. It may be possible to keep this going if the Barnett Formula is not changed but lots of English and Welsh MPs want to see Scotland's budget cut.

The referendum result shows Yes is the movement of the common man.

If the SNP can capitalise on that significant shift, they stand to radically transform Scotland because of a revolution in social justice.

The party that listens best to the anger of the people will own the future of this nation. But expect the turmoil to last for a long while yet.

"Lots of English and Welsh politicians would like to see Scotland's budget cut"
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 21, 2014
Words:617
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