MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - As tomorrow reveals the results of the Scottish referendum, the question remains: What challenges will Scotland face in the event of a "No" vote?
Judging by what has happened in the Quebec referendum in 1995, there may be risks to the Scottish economy regardless of tomorrow's result, writes the Independent. Despite continuous threats from companies like The Royal Bank of Scotland to move operations to England in the event of a "Yes" vote, many Scots have dismissed these threats as scaremongering. Furthermore, the Canadian example also suggests that a narrow "No" vote may prolong constitutional uncertainty in Edinburgh, causing problems for businesses and jobs in Scotland.
According to the latest ScotCen survey, 51 percent of Scottish respondents will vote "No," whilst 49 percent will support independence (excluding "Don't know" voters). As polls reveal the two camps to be "neck-and-neck," experts say a "No" vote will doubtfully result in political stability in the UK. "The union would be 'like a damaged marriage" states an anonymous Conservative MP cited in the Telegraph. Although Westminster has promised to extend administrative "powers" to Edinburgh, a narrow majority of "No" votes would not end the discussion over Scottish independence.
A media source quoted by the Telegraph warns that in the event of a "No" vote pro-independence voters may "seek a fresh mandate for a new referendum in a few years' time, the so-called 'never-endum' scenario."
An exclusive YouGov poll reveals that almost two-thirds of people in Scotland are unsure what powers would be devolved to them if they stayed within the Union, Sky News reports. According to the media, about 61 percent of Scottish respondents are unclear what powers they will get.
"The problem is they've drawn attention to the fact that we don't really know what that option is," stressed Professor Nicola McEwen from the Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change, as cited by Sky News. Indeed, those who vote "No" still only have a vague idea of what "extensive new powers Westminster has promised them.
In terms of the rest of the UK, Northern Ireland and Wales may gain benefits from the UK's devolution process. Welsh Democratic leader Kirsty Williams and Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have already emphasized that they deem the Scottish referendum as a "golden opportunity" to gain more financial independence from Westminster, according to Wales Online and the Irish Independent.
Experts note that even if the "No" camp prevails, it will hardly stop the desire for independence across the EU. The Washington Post reports a growing support for the secessionist campaign in Spain. "As many as 1.8 million people marched in Barcelona on Thursday in support of Catalonia's latest bid for independence," according to the organizers of the march. Local polls indicate that out of a population of 7.5 million, 55 percent will vote for independence in November 2014. However, Madrid has claimed the referendum will be considered illegal.
Experts conclude that although a Scottish "No" vote may temporarily slow down the secessionist movement in Europe, it is unlikely to bring it to a halt.