“I’ve seen this happen so many times before”, one veteran left-wing activist told me in the early hours of Friday morning, as we stood in the lobby of the Emirates Arena in the east end of Glasgow. “The Labour vote descends like a mist from nowhere and disperses just as quickly.”

In the end, it was only one section of the Labour vote – the public sector “salatariat”, as the journalist Paul Mason, another of my companions at the Glasgow count, described it – that turned out for the Union. The poorest parts of Scotland – those areas in which Westminster’s failure is most conspicuous – went with the nationalists.

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