The canvassing may be over, the voting concluded, the counting done. Even so, though we know that the No campaign has won, the argument is not yet settled, and there is not a conclusion.

The result has none of the finality of the Earl of Seafield's declaration: "There's ane end to ane auld sang" on the winding up of the Scottish Parliament in 1707.

There is, however, an obvious direction of travel. The Yes campaign has lost. At the time that Stirling and Falkirk declared, the gap was six percentage points.

It would be difficult to overstate the disappointment many Scots will feel this morning, but perhaps the most heartening aspect of yesterday's vote was the level of engagement by the electorate. A close vote with a low turnout would have been a catastrophe, and offered a basis for endless carping and casting up.

Instead, the number of votes cast smashed all records, coming closer to universal participation than any previous election. That is greatly to Scotland's credit, as well as giving an indication that politics can engage ordinary people when they sense the issue matters and when it moves beyond narrow party politics. The result is decisive enough to preclude any return to the issue for a generation - with one proviso. There must be the delivery of further powers to Holyrood.

The status quo has been shattered, as Ruth Davidson put it before a single result had come in, and there will be seismic changes not only to the way that Scotland, but all of the UK, is governed. That is inevitable, despite the protests of backbench Tory MPs that they will not be bounced into concessions without similar change elsewhere.

The Conservative front bench, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats may differ on the exact provisions, but they are united in recognising that change is essential. And that could hardly be otherwise, given the strength of feeling amongst Yes voters. It would, as Ming Campbell put it, be "political suicide" north of the Border to renege.

All the same, the pledge to introduce these powers before the next election, rushed out after a poll suggested Yes might actually win, looks almost impossible, and decidedly foolhardy while wider constitutional questions have hardly been considered. Their challenge will be to convince those who voted Yes that they are sincere about offering substantive change if that timetable slips.

Still, the LibDems have long advocated federalism, the Tories' last election manifesto advocated localism and devolution (even if that has not materialised), and Labour has a huge vested interest in preserving support in their heartland of support.

Despite the many inadequacies of Better Together's campaign and the strength and passion of the Yes movement - which genuinely enthused a grassroots engagement - advocates of independence clearly did not win the argument, even where they won substantial support.

On too many issues, the Yes campaign refused to acknowledge the arguments at all, dismissing, rather than addressing, questions as basic as the currency, EU membership and the degree of dependency on oil, while simultaneously presenting misleading claims about the NHS (entirely devolved since 1999) and Scotland being subjected to Tory governments for which it did not vote, when the country has had the Westminster government it voted for two times out of three since the war - not bad for a country making up less than 9% of the UK population.

What matters now is that we acknowledge that this process has changed the way we think about governance. On the plus side, although there were a few intimidatory moments in the campaign, most of us conducted the debate in the most amiable manner possible.

Scotland can be proud of having conducted a debate which has, for the most part, eschewed party politics, genuinely engaged in issues and mobilised people who have never taken part in political life before. At the end of it, we have decided we prefer - even when we dislike the current Government - to be part of the UK, as long as the UK changes.

But we will be deluding ourselves if we think the arguments are over, just because the vote on Scottish independence is.

This vote has shattered the UK. Just quite how is the next debate.