Chart: Struggling Scottish cities were more likely to vote for independence than affluent ones

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond addresses a business event in Aberdeen last February. Image: Getty.

In the highly likely event that you've been locked in a cupboard without Wi-Fi for the last eight hours, you may have missed the news that Scotland has said no to independence. Around 55 per cent of the voters elected to remain within the United Kingdom, compared to just 45 per cent that wanted to leave.

What's interesting about this result is the way the figures vary by region. Look at this map. Green areas had a majority for yes; red ones a majority for no. It's a little misleading, because it looks like a landslide. In fact support for independence in different council areas varied between 32 and 58 per cent: even in the deepest, reddest areas, there are a lot of Yes voters.

Those green areas also contain a lot more people than the sparsely populated Highlands. They cover two of Scotland's four major cities, Glasgow and Dundee, the latter of which was the most pro-independence region in the entire country. The western vale of "Yes" also includes West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire, both of which contain swathes of Glasgow suburbia.

Why these two cities should be so pro-independence while Aberdeen and Edinburgh were not is a complicated question – but the economic data may provide some clues.

The two Yes cities have consistently suffered unemployment rates well above the national average. And that gap seems to have widened during the recent recession:

Those who are in work have seen wages lag behind:

Dundee in particular seems to be struggling. Wages lag behind those in Glasgow, and even in 2013 unemployment was still rising. That's probably due in part to the relatively poor quality of the jobs the city has to offer:

It'd be too simplistic to credit an entire city's views on government and national identity to its economic situation, of course: all sorts of other factors, political and social, will come into play, too.

Nonetheless, it seems unlikely to be a coincidence that the residents of vibrant Edinburgh and oil-rich Aberdeen are relatively happy with the status quo – while those of poorer, ex-industrial cities aren’t.

Map of referendum results courtesy of Sceptre, via Wikimedia Commons.

 
 
 
 

A voice for the city: how should mayors respond to terror attacks?

Andy Burnham speaking in Manchester yesterday. Image: Getty.

When Andy Burnham, a former British government minister, won the election to be Greater Manchester’s Metro Mayor recently he was probably focused on plans for the region’s transport, policing and housing – and, of course, all the behind the scenes political work that goes on when a new role is created. The Conversation

And yet just a few weeks after taking on the role, terrorism has proved to be his first major challenge. Following the horrific bomb attack following a concert at one of Manchester’s most popular venues, he quickly has had to rise to the challenge.

It is a sad fact of life that as a senior politician, you will soon have to face – and deal with – a shocking incident of this kind.

These incidents arrive regardless of your long term plans and whatever you are doing. Gordon Brown’s early tenure as UK prime minister, for example, saw the Glasgow terror incident – which involved an attempted car bombing of the city’s airport in June 2007. Just four days into his premiership, Brown was dealing with the worst terrorist incident in Britain since the attacks on London in July 2005. Andy Burnham now finds himself in a similar situation.


Giving Manchester a voice

For Burnham, as the mayor and messenger of Manchester, an attack of this scale needs a response at several levels.

There is the immediately practical – dealing with casualties. There is the short term logistical – dealing with things like transport and closures. And there is the investigation and (hopefully) prevention of any follow ups.

But he will also need a “voice”. People look to particular figures to give a voice to their outrage, to talk about the need for calm, to provide reassurance, and to offer unity and express the sadness overwhelming many.

Part of the thinking behind the UK government’s enthusiasm for elected mayors was a perceived need to provide strong, local leaders. And a strong, local leader’s voice is exactly what is needed in Manchester now.

There is a certain choreography to the response to these events. It tends to go: a brief initial reaction, a visit to the scene, then a longer statement or speech. This is then usually followed by a press conference and interviews, along with visits to those affected. I say this not to be callous, but to highlight the huge demand the news media places on leading political figures when tragedy strikes.

‘We are strong’

As expected, Burnham made a speech on the morning after the attack. It is probably better described as a statement, in that it was short and to the point. But despite its brevity, in nine paragraphs, he summed up just about every possible line of thought.

The speech covered evil, the shared grieving and the need for the city to carry on. He also praised the work of the emergency services, and highlighted the need for unity and the very human reaction of the local people who provided help to those affected.

Andy Burnham on Sky News. Image: screenshot.

Burnham now has the task of bringing people together while there is still doubt about many aspects of what happened. A vigil in the centre of Manchester was rapidly planned for Tuesday evening, and there will be many other potential initiatives to follow.

Incidents like this tend to leave a large and long-lasting footprint. The effects of the bomb will last for years, whether in concrete reality or in people’s awareness and memories. And Burnham must now lead the effort to ensure Manchester emerges from this shocking incident with cohesion and strength.

Paula Keaveney is senior lecturer in public relations & politics at Edge Hill University.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.