Scotland's future: Your 10 independence questions

With less than a year to go until the Scottish independence referendum, there are many questions about what a "Yes" vote might mean.

  • For more on the Scottish independence referendum go to the BBC's Scotland's Future page.

BBC news website readers have been telling us the kind of things they want answered ahead of the poll on 18 September 2014.

Here are 10 of the most frequently asked questions........

1. Alex O'Brien asks: "I recently renewed two UK passports for my wife and I. Will I require a new one if the vote is 'Yes'?

The Scottish government intends to bring in a separate Scottish passport under independence, but says Scots would be free either to retain their British passport, or hold both.

Finding the answers

The Scottish government says it will answer "all your questions" when it publishes its vision for independence on 26 November.

That said, UK Home Secretary Theresa May says the Westminster government may not allow Scottish dual citizenship, adding that the issue will be considered along with SNP policy on citizenship, and membership of the EU.

Current UK Border Agency policy states that British subjects can keep their British passport, as long as the country in which they want to hold another passport (which in this case would be an independent Scotland) allows dual nationality.

2. Iain Morrison asks: "What is envisaged as the national anthem for a new independent Scotland? As someone born of Scots parents in England, I am proud of my Scottish inheritance but I feel that the lyrics of the current anthem 'Flower of Scotland' are far too nationalistic."

Scotland does not currently have its own official national anthem, but it seems certain that, under independence, the nation would seek to adopt one.

Want to know more?

The SNP-run Scottish government has already been outlining what it wants to happen in the event of independence. So, what do we already know about the Nationalist vision?

God Save the Queen is the national anthem for the whole United Kingdom, but tunes such as Flower of Scotland and Scotland the Brave have long been used as an unofficial Scots anthems, especially at sporting events.

There have been numerous suggestions over the years to find Scotland's national song, from adopting one of the above to coming up with a brand new one - although the SNP's policy of retaining the Monarch under independence means God Save the Queen could still have its place.

3. Jim Green asks: "What will be the proportion of votes needed to favour independence for the result to be declared a 'Yes'?"

The result of the independence referendum will be decided by a simple majority.

That means a "Yes" vote of "50% plus one" would be enough to gain independence.

There is no turnout requirement for next year's vote - unlike the 1979 devolution referendum, in which the "Yes" vote had to exceed 40% of the total electorate.

4. Geoff Parry asks: "Assuming a 'Yes' vote for separation in 2014, would Scots be able to vote in a UK election if that were held between the date of the referendum and the date in 2016 when the' Yes' vote would take effect?"

If the September 2014 referendum returns a "Yes" vote, the SNP says it would take 18 months to prepare for full independence - that's March 2016.

Differing views

The UK government has been publishing a series of papers on why it believes the Union should remain intact.

The next UK election, due to happen in May 2015, would come in the middle of that - but Scotland would still then be a member of the UK, so it is likely Scots would still be able to vote for their local MP.

However, in the event of a "Yes" vote, the question is - would anyone stand for election to one of Scotland's 59 Westminster seats, in the knowledge they faced redundancy the following year?

5. Len Loullis asks: "If Scotland attains independence, will it still be a member of the EU?"

Nobody has seriously suggested that an independent Scotland cannot or would not be a European Union member - the argument has centred around how long it might take.

SNP thinking in the past few years has gone from saying membership would be "automatic" to a position that Scotland, having been part of EU member state Britain, would negotiate its position "from within".

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney is confident there would be enough time in the 18-month window for the process to be completed, but opponents have said such talks could be lengthy and very complicated.

6. Anne MacDonald asks: "I work in the NHS and am close to retirement age. What will happen to state pensions in an independent Scotland? And, does Alex Salmond propose to keep age changes in the state pension?"

The Scottish government says benefits, tax credits and state pensions would continue to be paid from the first day of independence, with the same level of protection that currently exists.

Scotland's future: Viewpoints

The BBC news website has been publishing a number of webcasts on the Scottish independence debate. They can be found on our Scotland's Future website.

Pensions expert David Davison, from actuarial firm Spence & Partners, says the challenge would be the transition of schemes from one administration to another.

On the policy front, the SNP - if it became the party of government in an independent Scotland - says that, from 2016, new pensioners would get £160 a week, making them £1.10 better off than those in the rest of the UK. It has also pledged to set up a commission looking at what level the state pension age should be.

7. Gary Woolton asks: "What would happen to .co.uk in Scotland? As no longer part of the UK would Scottish-based business, individuals using .co.uk addresses still be entitled to use them or would a new domain be set up? What would the cost to business be if this was the case"?

Plans for an optional .scot domain have been accepted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), following a campaign by not-for-profit company Dot Scot Registry and have passed the initial evaluation process. This means the domain could be ready to go live in January 2015, regardless of the referendum result.

All .co.uk domains are administered by UK registry Nominet, which says the domain names they manage are not currently subject to any geographic restrictions. Therefore the status of registrants and prospective registrants should not be affected by Scotland becoming an independent country.

Nominet has consulted on proposals that, post-independence, Scottish companies wishing to keep or apply for a .uk domain would have to nominate a UK address of service to which legal papers could be served.

8. Lorrie Godwin asks: "Will Scotland have a second chamber and if so will it be elected?"

Scottish devolution was seen as a chance to do things differently from Westminster and its single-chamber setup, backed up by Holyrood's cross-party committees, is regarded as a system which works well and is not likely to change.

The campaigners

Both sides of the Scottish independence debate have well established campaigns with well established websites - Yes Scotland is for independence and Better Together is pro-Union.

There has been some support for a second chamber - from nationalist-leaning commentator Michael Fry for one - but the SNP's continued dominance in Scottish politics would keep it off the agenda, given the party's opposition to the UK House of Lords.

Apart from anything else, the Scottish Parliament may need to build an extension to make it happen.

9. Derek McAllister asks: "What percentage of the UK national debt will be transferred to an independent Scotland?"

This would have to be negotiated, but the SNP has touted a figure of £92bn, based on population, while they also argue Scotland's share of the national debt should be lessened because of the high contribution to the UK's coffers by oil and gas from Scotland's shores.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research says Scotland's debt could be 86% of national income- significantly lower than the 101% calculated for the rest of the UK.

There is also an argument that, with no track record of servicing debt, the new independent nation of Scotland could face a higher borrowing cost - between 0.72% and 1.65% above UK borrowing costs for 10-year debt.

10. Ian Thompson asks: "Would the UK still be called the UK after Scottish independence? Wales is not a kingdom, neither is Northern Ireland. Would the UK just refer to its other title of Great Britain?"

It could be assumed the term "UK" might continue to stand for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, given it is a term people know and that the Union of the Scottish and English crowns would continue under independence.

The term UK is not synonymous with Great Britain.

Britain refers to England, Wales and Scotland, while the UK also includes Northern Ireland. Therefore, using the title Great Britain to refer to the Union of England, Wales and Northern Ireland would be incorrect as it would include Scotland, which in the event of independence would no longer be part of this union, and exclude Northern Ireland which would remain part of the Union.

Technically speaking Northern Ireland is a province and Wales although formerly a principality, was officially reclassified as a country in January 2012 by the International Organisation for Standards (ISO).

More on This Story

More Scotland politics stories

RSS

Referendum Live

  1.  
    01:00: Western Isles update Catriona Maclennan, BBC Scotland

    The plane with the ballot papers from the Southern Isles (Uist and Barra) left Benbecula at 00:22 and is expected to land in Stornoway at approx 01:00.

    There had been uncertainty over how the papers would get here due to low lying fog all over the islands.

    Plan B was to transport the papers by boat from Uist to Harris, and then to Lewis by road, which would have meant a 05:00-06:00 declaration. Looking at a 03:00 declaration, approximately.

     
  2.  
    00:58: Last Shetland boxes

    The islands of Unst and Yell are the last boxes to arrive in Shetland.

    Shetland votes
     
  3.  
    00:57: 'Broken political system'

    Scottish Green party MSP Patrick Harvie, a supporter of the "Yes" campaign, tells the BBC that the UK has "a broken political system that has been propping up a broken economic system". The anger at this has been "channelled into something positive" in Scotland, he claims.

     
  4.  
    00:56: Andy Murray surprise Kheredine Idessane BBC Scotland

    I was astonished that Andy Murray tweeted his support for independence in the early hours of Thursday.

    Partly because he had kept his own counsel for so long and partly because it came pretty much on polling day.

    I spoke to him about this very issue in New York a few weeks ago and he said he would play for an independent Scotland at the Olympics but he hadn't given it too much thought because he wasn't expecting it to happen.

    So when he said what he said yesterday it was game, set and match for the astonishment factor for me.

     
  5.  
    00:55: Inverclyde count Sally McNair Reporter, BBC Scotland

    The count at Inverclyde, in the Waterfront ice rink overlooking the Firth of Clyde, is well under way. All 75 boxes from 38 polling stations were brought here within an hour of the polls closing.

    With just under 62,500 registered voters here, this is the fifth smallest council area in Scotland and should be one of the first to declare.

    Polling has been high, with queues at some of the polling stations before they opened at 07:00.

     
  6.  
    00:55: Dundee City turnout Andrew Anderson BBC Scotland News

    Dundee City reports a turnout of 78.8%.

     
  7.  
    00:55: Analysis Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    Intriguing comments from polling organisation leaders on the potential outcome. They suggest that 'Yes' made significant ground, only for there to be a move back in a 'No' direction right at the very close.

    All note the difficulty in assessing a referendum by contrast with elections - where there is a history of comparable voting behaviour. All agree the need to reassess polling methods.

    As I say, intriguing - but of decidedly minor moment by comparison with the decision being taken by Scotland tonight.

    Two years of campaigning. Two seconds to mark a cross on a small piece of paper.

     
  8.  
    00:53: Hidden 'thumbs up' Eleanor Bradford BBC Scotland Health Correspondent

    Campaigners gathered at the Better Together campaign at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow say voters were reluctant to say openly if they voted "No" but instead gave "No" volunteers a surreptitious wink!

    They replied with a "thumbs up" under their jackets.

     
  9.  
    00:52: 'Victory for the people' Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Lord Wallace, Advocate General for Scotland in the UK government, and Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill are playing their cards close to the chest at the Ingliston central count.

    Mr MacAskill says he's "contemplating a 'Yes' vote", while Lord Wallace says it would be "rash" to predict an outcome at this stage in the game. Both men, though, agree this referendum has been a victory for the people, whatever the result, given the remarkably high turnouts we've seen so far.

     
  10.  
    00:53: High turnout John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    Inverclyde has also recorded a very high turnout with 87% of voters having cast a ballot.

    We have now had turnouts from three areas which are thought to be relatively fertile territory for the "Yes" side.

    In all three cases the turnout has been 87% to 89%.

    In contrast in the one place where "No" are expected to do well, and we have information on the number of papers that have been found in the ballot boxes, the turnout is somewhat lower at 84%.

     
  11.  
    00:51: East Renfrewshire count Jane Lewis BBC Scotland

    Still verifying here in East Renfrewshire but "No" supporter Jim Murphy says "we've won it by miles."

    The "Yes" camp tell me "it's a mixed bag".

     
  12.  
    00:50: 'Shift to No'

    Peter Kellner from pollsters YouGov told BBC Scotland: "We are saying 54% No, 46% Yes.

    "We reckon there has been a two-point shift to No just today from either people shifting or from the 'No' people being especially determined to turn out to vote.

    "The word out is that Glasgow is very close. Yes needs to win Glasgow comfortably if they are to win overall. If it is tight in Glasgow, 'No' has won Scotland."

     
  13.  
    00:49: BT analysis

    BBC Scotland's political editor Brian Taylor is providing analysis through the night.

    Brian Taylor
     
  14.  
    00:48: No Alex Salmond

    BBC Politics: First Minister Alex Salmond cancels appearance at own #indyref count, @bbcnickrobinson says

     
  15.  
    00:48: 'Different country'

    Historian Peter Hennessy tells the BBC in Westminster that the UK "will be a different country" whatever the result of the referendum. "The English question has been rumbling but will soon become a roar," he predicts.

     
  16.  
    00:47: Electoral fraud allegations update Aileen Clarke BBC Scotland

    Police investigating allegations of electoral fraud in Glasgow. It relates to 10 votes cast in various polling stations around the city.

     
  17.  
    00:44: Electoral fraud allegations

    Editor of The Herald, Magnus Llewellin: BREAKING: Allegations of electoral fraud in Glasgow. Allegations of double vote impersonation in Glasgow #indyref

     
  18.  
    00:44: Orkney count

    Former Big Brother winner, and Better Together campaigner, Cameron Stout looks on as the Orkney count takes place.

    Cameron Stout
     
  19.  
    00:43: Queen to make statement

    The Queen is to make a written statement on Friday afternoon, regardless of the referendum result.

     
  20.  
    Email: yourpics@bbc.co.uk 00:43: Get involved

    Andrew McCallum sent these pictures from Jura of ballot boxes being collected: "The helicopter had arrived from Gigha to collect our votes and was then heading to Islay airport and Colonsay, before flying to Lochgilphead where the votes will be counted."

    The vote being collected from Jura by helicopter
     
  21.  
    00:40: Renfrewshire turnout Megan Paterson, BBC Scotland

    Renfrewshire reports 117,612 votes cast, a turnout of 87.3%.

     
  22.  
    00:39: 'No' in Falkirk? Sarah Smith, BBC Scotland news presenter

    Better Together say they think "No" will win "comfortably" in Falkirk, the former Westminster seat of Yes Scotland chairman Dennis Canavan, who used to be a Labour MP.

     
  23.  
    00:39: Renfrewshire turnout

    Renfrewshire turnout figure 87.3%. That is 117,612 votes cast.

     
  24.  
    00:38: Young voters

    Prof Charlie Jeffrey told BBC Scotland the introduction of 16 and 17-year-olds to the electorate had been a great success.

    He said: "I think the commitment of new voters has been very high but also the level of seriousness of the debate.

    "Some special polling has been done on 16 to 17-year-olds by my colleagues at the University of Edinburgh and they found they were not more likely to vote 'Yes' but actually more likely than any other age group, except for pensioners to vote 'No'."

    charlie jeffrey
     
  25.  
    00:37: Shetland selfie

    Shetland MSP Tavish Scott takes a selfie with first-time voters from the island's two high schools.

    Tavish Scott selfie
     
  26.  
    00:35: Wales settlement

    Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood says a "Yes" vote would be a "fantastic opportunity for Wales to get the settlement that we deserve here".

    If there is a "No" vote, she argues, extra funding for Scotland under the Barnett formula might "cause a problem" for Wales, which gets a lower amount per head under the UK finding arrangement.

     
  27.  
    00:34: Northern Ireland debate Mark Devenport BBC News NI Political Editor

    A "Yes" victory could put Northern Ireland's constitutional status in question.

    If there is a "No", there will be a debate over what extra powers, if any, should be given to Stormont. That could include devolution of corporation tax to help NI compete with the lower rate of corporation tax in the Republic of Ireland.

     
  28.  
    00:32: Clackmannanshire count Jamie McIvor BBC Scotland correspondent

    One prominent local "Yes" activist says the picture here is "not as good as he'd hoped".

     
  29.  
    00:32: Turnout Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    First voter turnout numbers of the night: Orkney is 83.7%, with 14,907 votes cast. Clackmannanshire's voter turnout is 88.6%, with 35,411 votes cast.

     
  30.  
    00:30: Accident update Craig Anderson BBC Scotland

    Caithness ballot boxes held up by 1.5 hours because of an accident on the A9 at Berriedale Braes blackspot.

    The ballot boxes are now expected at the count in Dingwall at about 03:00.

     
  31.  
    00:28: Postal high

    East Dunbartonshire is declaring that 97% of postal votes have been returned.

    Postal ballots

    There has been a 95% turnout for postal votes in Clackmannanshire.

     
  32.  
    00:27: Stirling count Reevel Alderson Home affairs correspondent, BBC Scotland

    Sandy Buchanan, 53, said he was glad to witness the count. "It seems like the logical conclusion to what's been a remarkable campaign," he said.

    His sister, Elizabeth Buchanan, 49, added: "Normally you just put your cross on the paper and that's it. Watching it makes you really feel part of it."

    Counters in Stirling
     
  33.  
    00:24: East Renfrewshire count Jane Lewis BBC Scotland

    East Renfrewshire now expecting to finish verifying the votes here at 00:30 now rather than midnight. That's when we'll get turnout figures.

     
  34.  
    00:24: 'Looking like a No'

    Martyn Mclaughlin of the Scotsman tweets: Some 90% of postal votes returned in Edinburgh. Word from hacks in Ingleston is it's looking like a No #indyref

     
  35.  
    00:22: Clackmannanshire count Jamie McIvor BBC Scotland correspondent

    Some Better Together campaigners say the result in Clackmannanshire may be better for them than they'd hoped. A "Yes" vote had been widely expected here.

     
  36.  
    00:22: Highland delay

    The Highland Council: Highland Counting Officer expects some delay in receiving ballot boxes from north following A9 road closure by RTC.

     
  37.  
    00:21: Better Together 'confident' in Fife Simon Dedman BBC News

    Labour MP Thomas Doherty, spokesman for the No Campaign in Fife, has said he is confident that Fife will be a "No", based on the latest YouGov poll.

    He said Kirkcaldy would be the key part of the region to watch as "Yes" could do well there, but they would have to be ahead of "No" by some margin to dent Dunfermline, North East and West Fife where he said the "No" vote was solid.

    "Yes" could do well in Glenrothes due to the town being representated by SNP MSP Patricia Marwick, he added.

    It has been suggested that the count result here could be later than 04:00 and closer to 06:00.

     
  38.  
    00:18: Dumfries awaits

    Scotland's only Conservative MP, David Mundell, is at the count in Dumfries and says the boxes from Stranraer were not expected until 01:00.

    He told BBC Scotland: "Everybody recognises that if there is a Yes vote in Dumfries and Galloway then Scotland will be independent so I'm expecting a No vote. The initial signs here are encouraging but we have such a high turnout, so many people who don't normally vote, it is very difficult to make predictions.

    "It is a huge turnout. Particularly in some of the rural areas. In one of the boxes 100% of the people who have been available to vote have done so."

     
  39.  
    00:18: Clackmannanshire turnout

    Official figures from Clackmannanshire put the turnout at 89%.

     
  40.  
    00:16: 'Remarkable day'

    First Minister Alex Salmond: This has been a remarkable day. Scotland's future truly is in Scotland's hands. #IndyRef

     
  41.  
    00:16: Orkney turnout

    The first official statement of the number of ballot papers found in the ballot boxes has come from Orkney. This shows 84% of voters have cast a ballot.

     
  42.  
    00:15: Question time Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    The evidence from throughout Scotland is of a large, indeed a phenomenal, turnout. A series of questions arise from that.

    1. Will this benefit one side or the other?

    That depends upon differential turnout. Is one side or the other feeling more motivated, more inclined to participate? It had been thought that the more motivated side would be Yes. It had been thought this could be worth 1% or 2% in the final tally.

    However, at these huge levels of interest, that may be open to challenge. It seems that the entirety of Scotland is engaged. We shall see.

    Read more questions and answers here.

     
  43.  
    00:15: 'Fear and scare'

    Former Scottish first minister Henry McLeish said he had been a "reluctant" No voter.

    The former Labour MP and MSP said he had been "intensely annoyed" by the No campaign's approach of "fear and scare".

    He said: "There is an old Scottish word - thrawn - which essentially means the more you tell people they can't do something, the more they are likely to say 'I might want to do it'."

     
  44.  
    00:13: Island powers

    Alistair Carmichael, who is Lib Dem MP for Orkney and Shetland, calls for more powers for Scotland's islands and alleges "Alex Salmond runs the most centralised government in western Europe right now."

     
  45.  
    00:11: New powers doubt

    SNP MSP Humza Yousaf tells the BBC he does not foresee new powers from Westminster "coming at all".

     
  46.  
    00:10: Packed halls

    Counting is well under way at Alloa Town Hall. Election officials say they have packed in as many staff as the hall will take.

    Clackmannanshire packed hall
     
  47.  
    00:09: 'Phenomenal' support Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Speaking at the Ingliston count, Cat Boyd, of the Radical Independence grassroots campaign, says they had organised buses to get people to polling stations, but found that when she was in Glasgow's Drumchapel area earlier, many people said they'd been out to vote already.

    She says there's been "phenomenal" support for independence in communities that the polling companies don't reach.

     
  48.  
    00:09: 'Uncharted waters'

    Lib Dem MSP for Shetland, Tavish Scott, told the BBC: "The sheer weight of the vote is at a scale that none of us who have stood at elections over a number of years have ever seen before.

    "That's a good sign but we are therefore in uncharted waters."

     
  49.  
    00:07: "Everyone was buzzing" Keir Murray BBC Sport Scotland

    Laurens Zhang from Kilmacolm has been fascinated by the whole voting and counting process.

    The 16-year-old pupil at St Columba's voted "No" today.

    He said: "The atmosphere in the sixth-year common room was amazing. Everyone was buzzing. It's good to see so many young people taking an interest in politics."

     
  50.  
    @DMiliband 00:06: Twitter reaction

    Former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband tweets: Wonderful to hear of 80/90 per cent turnouts in #indyref. Scots have taught us all a lesson in democracy.

     
  51.  
    00:02: Devolution debate

    Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael tells the BBC: "It is now for the English to have the debate that we've had in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland."

    This could mean an English Parliament, city regions or regional assemblies, but it is "not for me to tell them", he adds.

     
  52.  
    00:00: Poll caution

    Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson sounds a note of caution about polls, arguing that opinion pollsters might be the "losers" in the referendum campaign.

    "They haven't had a touch or a feel for Scotland," she tells the BBC. "They've tried to weight it to party politics and it just doesn't work."

    Ruth Davidson
     
  53.  
    23:57: 'Taking part in history' Willie Johnston BBC Scotland

    Counting officer Alex Haswell tells 175 counters in Dumfries they're "taking part in history" #indyref

    Dumfries and Galloway count
     
  54.  
    23:55: Brussels reaction Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

    Flemish nationalists have been on the streets of Brussels putting candles down on the Scottish flag. There is less enthusiasm for independence among EU politicians, however.

     
  55.  
    23:53: Fashion stakes Ian Hamilton BBC Scotland

    Black is clearly in fashion at the North Ayrshire count!

    North Ayrshire
     
  56.  
    23:51: 'Quite staggering'

    SNP MSP Fiona Hyslop told the BBC the people of Scotland had been on a journey.

    She said: "There are people who have voted for the first time, people in their fifties and sixties. The turnout will be something quite staggering.

    "In terms of what that means, politics has changed as a result of the referendum."

     
  57.  
    23:49: Tension in Midlothian

    To quote BBC Reporter Sam Poling at Midlothian: "It's a plateau of tension."

    Sam Polling
     
  58.  
    23:48: 'Pride and humility'

    Labour MP Douglas Alexander said the story of the early part of the evening was the "enormous turnout".

    "We should all feel both extraordinary pride and a certain humility when it comes to a turnout of this scale because it is literally unprecedented," he said.

    "Predictions at this stage need to be taken with a barrel of salt not just a punch of salt."

     
  59.  
    23:47: Angus count David Currie Reporting Scotland presenter

    Contrary to what Ruth Davidson said the turnout for Friocheim is not 100 per cent and there were only two ballot boxes #scotlanddecides

     
  60.  
    23:45: Glasgow count

    Glasgow City Council: All 483 ballot boxes from Glasgow polling stations have arrived at The Emirates arena for #indyref

    The count at the Emirates Arena
     
  61.  
    23:45: Lifeboat of ballot boxes

    BBC Newsgathering Producer Suzanne Lord: 2 Barra ballot boxes started their journey to Lewis to be counted. Local lifeboat collected them. Officials say turnout 95% approx #indyref

     
  62.  
    23:44: Labour 'relieved'

    Labour MP Diane Abbott, speaking to the BBC in Westminster, says that "Labour MPs will be relieved that it looks like we're going to squeak through" with a narrow "No" victory.

     
  63.  
    23:43: Midlothian queue

    Long queue of cars full of ballot boxes waiting outside the Lasswade Centre at the Midlothian count.

    Queue of boxes
     
  64.  
    23:42: High postal votes

    The BBC's Laura Bicker reports that 90% of the postal votes have been returned in Edinburgh.

    Full official turnout figures for the city will not be known for at least two more hours.

     
  65.  
    23:42: England powers

    Conservative MP John Redwood tells the BBC's Andrew Neil at Westminster that, if there is a "No" victory, "every power that goes to Scotland must be matched by the same power coming to England".

     
  66.  
    23:41: Late undecided Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Veteran Lib Dem politician Lord Steel, who's at the Ingliston count looking dapper as usual, tells me a young voter came up to him in the street in Selkirk this morning.

    He was on the way the polling station but still had no idea how he was going to vote.

    "It was an experience I've never had in my long years in politics," Lord Steel says, adding: "I made a last-minute conversion."

     
  67.  
    23:41: Highest-ever turnout?

    Prof Charlie Jeffery from the University of Edinburgh said if the reports of 90% turnout were correct they would be "record-breaking".

    "The highest ever turnout in Scotland was in Dundee East in 1950 - 88.6%," he said. "The highest Scotland-wide turnout was just over 80% at the UK election in 1951.

    "I think we are going to be above that Scottish record and we may even see some places which exceed that Dundee East record."

     
  68.  
    23:39: Inverclyde count

    All ballot boxes have now arrived for Inverclyde count, more than one hour after the polls closed.

    Ballot boxes
     
  69.  
    23:35: Too feart Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    YouGov president Peter Kellner, who's at the Ingliston national count, tells me his organisation's latest polling data indicates a "small but consistent" shift from "Yes" to "No" and a "slightly higher determination to vote" among "No" people.

    He reckons "No" voters are more frightened of independence than "Yes" voters are of the status quo.

    Mr Kellner says his instinct is that, if the latest YouGov survey is wrong, the gap may actually be wider in favour of "No".

    Some people here at the count are talking about the experience of the 1995 Quebec referendum, which saw an "emotional swing" to "Yes" when the campaign was going full tilt, but swung back when it was time to fill in the ballot paper, resulting in a (very slim) "No" outcome.

     
  70.  
    23:34: Ballot boxes in the Western Isles

    The plane has landed in Benbecula. If the skies stay clear, the boxes should be collected from Uist and Barra and loaded aboard by midnight - ballots should arrive in Stornoway by 00.30.

    If the fog closes in again, Plan B is to take them across the Sound of Harris by fishing boat.

    If the plane can fly, the count will be done by 02:30. If not, the count would be done by 05:00 or 06:00.

     
  71.  
    23:31: Votes at 16

    Jim Murphy also said the referendum had shown that votes for 16 and 17-year-olds had taught an important lesson about how engaged young people were. He said he backed votes at 16 across the UK in time for the next general election in May 2015.

     
  72.  
    23:30: Stirling count Reevel Alderson Home affairs correspondent, BBC Scotland

    There are about 30 members of the public in the balcony of the Albert Halls where the Stirling count is taking place. I first covered an election nearly 40 years ago - October, 1974 - and I've never seen spectators at a count before.

    A total of 122 ballot boxes from as far away as Killin and Tyndrum have now all arrived to be counted.

     
  73.  
    Murphy: 'Very big No'

    Labour MP Jim Murphy calls the events of today "remarkable" and predicts a "very, very big" No vote in his constituency of East Renfrewshire.

    Jim Murphy MP
     
  74.  
    23:23: Perth and Kinross count Suzanne Allan, BBC Scotland

    One Yes Campaigner said in one part of Perth he counted turnout at 82% - it's usually 35%. He had tears in his eyes.

     
  75.  
    23:22: Postal turnout John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    Some early postal turnouts confirm the expectation that overall turnout in this referendum would be extraordinarily high.

    As of this morning, 95% of the postal votes in East Lothian had been returned and 93% in South Ayrshire.

     
  76.  
    23:21: YouGov poll John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    YouGov's on the day prediction poll is based on the responses from 1,828 people who voted today, together with 800 who had already voted by post and were interviewed previously.

    The ones who were contacted today consist of respondents to one of YouGov's polls conducted earlier this week, and the company claims there has been a small shift from "Yes" to "No" among this group.

    Election aficionados caution that postal voters comprise a rather high 30% of this sample.

     
  77.  
    23:21: Orkney count

    The first ballot box arrives at the Orkney count.

    Orkney count
     
  78.  
    23:18: Falkirk count Fiona Walker, BBC Scotland

    That's all the ballot boxes arrived at Grangemouth. 168 of them.

     
  79.  
    23:18: 'Politics of people'

    SNP MSP Fiona Hyslop tells the BBC: "The debate that some didn't want to have has energised a nation."

    The referendum is not about "the politics of party, it's the politics of people", she claims.

     
  80.  
    23:17: First timers Richard Smith

    First time voters, 17-year-olds Rachel Falconer and Sean Davidson, are watching the Perth and Kinross count at Bell's Sports Centre in Perth.

    Rachel Falconer and Sean Davidson

    The pair are the deputy head girl and deputy head boy at Perth High School. They said the referendum had stimulated much debate among their fellow pupils.

     
  81.  
    23:17: Great speed

    An hour after polling closed, all 75 boxes from 38 polling places had arrived at the Inverclyde count. All ballot boxes were received at the East Lothian count by 11pm.

     
  82.  
    23:15: Counting on Mary

    Chief counting officer Mary Pitcaithly said counting was taking place at 32 centres around Scotland, including Ingliston where she is based.

    She said: "The counting officers in all those 32 areas then give me information about the number of votes they are counting. They are authorised to release that and that's how you work out what the turnout is.

    "After that they split the votes into 'Yes', 'No' and 'doubtful's. At the end of that, if it all adds up, we have a result from that area."

     
  83.  
    23:13: 'Historic judgement'

    Labour MP Douglas Alexander tells the BBC: "We can only welcome the fact that we have come out in our millions to cast our vote".

    He adds that the referendum will be a "historic judgement".

     
  84.  
    23:13: Malcolm Bruce in Aberdeenshire Steven Duff BBC Scotland reporter

    Deputy Lib Dem Leader and Gordon MP Malcolm Bruce tells me he's hopeful Aberdeenshire has voted "No", but admits it is still too close call.

    The turnout in Aberdeenshire is thought to be more 80%.

     
  85.  
    23:09: Sweet tooth Aileen Clarke BBC Scotland

    Are they expecting a long night? Someone is going round offering chocolate to the counters in Glasgow.

    Chocolates for the counters
     
  86.  
    23:06: Be patient... John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    A high turnout in this referendum means, of course, that the votes will take a long time to count. It could be at least 01:00 before the first results are in.

     
  87.  
    23:05: The woman in charge...

    The chief counting officer at the National Counting Centre at Ingliston, near Edinburgh, is Mary Pitcaithly.

    "There is a big job to be done today but we are ready for it," she told the BBC's Laura Bicker.

    "It seems to have gone very smoothly. It has been very busy. I know that polling has been brisk everywhere but I am not aware of significant queues. I am not aware of any major issues."

    mary pitcaithly
     
  88.  
    23:03: North Lanarkshire count Stuart Dale BBC Scotland

    The first ballot box from Motherwell arrives.

    North Lanarkshire ballot boxes
     
  89.  
    23:03: In the studio

    Jackie Bird is presenting BBC Scotland's results programme, along with Glenn Campbell.

    Jackie Bird
     
  90.  
    23:02: 'On schedule' Sandy Murray BBC Scotland news

    All voting papers have now arrived at Alloa Town Hall. On schedule for an early declaration here.

     
  91.  
    23:00: Edinburgh count Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Ballot boxes are arriving at the Edinburgh count now.

     
  92.  
    23:00: 'Huge Highland turnout' Craig Anderson BBC Scotland

    "Yes" campaigners in the Highlands say postal votes here so far showing a majority for Better Together.

    But they say that's what they expected and believe the majority of the local authority's 190,782 registered voters will vote "Yes".

    Unofficial estimates of the turnout in the north are "huge" with some polling stations seeing queues of voters before they opened.

     
  93.  
    22:57: Survey reaction Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    At the Ingliston national count, The YouGov survey seems to have intrigued the "No" side. They're, of course, being VERY cautious, but one senior figure in the camp tells me it could be an indication that undecided voters might have gone for "No" - early days yet though.

     
  94.  
    22:57: 'Astonishing' turnout Andrew Marr BBC News

    Indications from the central count at Ingliston are that the turnout has been "astonishingly high".

     
  95.  
    22:56: Stirling count Reevel Alderson BBC Scotland's social affairs correspondent

    Counting has begun in the Albert Halls in Stirling which, until 22:00, was also a polling place.

    The counting officer says 62,400 people were registered to vote.

    A total of 10,845 postal ballots were sent out and by 16:00 95% had been returned.

     
  96.  
    22:54: Watch live

    Don't forget you can watch or listen to the BBC's live television coverage of the results at the top of this page.

     
  97.  
    22:52: Social media stats

    Today on Facebook, an 'I'm Voting' button was displayed to everyone of voting age in Scotland. As of 6pm tonight, the 'I'm Voting' button had appeared in people's newsfeeds more than 2.5 million times since 7am.

    On Twitter, the most re-tweeted tweet on referendum day came from Scottish tennis player Andy Murray, who shared his stance with his 2.7 million followers. That tweet was re-tweeted more than 18,000 times.

     
  98.  
    22:52: YouGov poll

    YouGov president Peter Kellner has been telling Sky News about their final poll of 3,000 people: it shows a 54-46 lead for the No campaign. He said he was now "99% certain" of a "No" vote.

     
  99.  
    22:48: Counters in Lerwick John Johnston BBC News, Shetland

    Shetland counters get ready for the most northern ballot boxes to arrive in Lerwick.

    Counters in Lerwick
     
  100.  
    22:48: Political panel

    SNP MSP Humza Yousaf told the BBC Scotland Decides programme he was "confident" of a victory for the "Yes" campaign.

    Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander said a high turnout could marginally help the "No" campaign.

    Scotland Decides studio
     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

Programmes

  • A person taking a photo of fireworks on a smartphoneClick Watch

    A look at the latest gadgets which could make it easier to take the perfect night-time picture

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.