Scottish referendum: If the results will be No what’s next for Scotland’s independence

If the result of the referendum will be NO, would you say that the Scottish independence will be for some time a case closed or it will probably pop out very quickly again? Read few comments.

Eve Hepburn, Senior Lecturer in Politics; and Depute Director of the Academy of Government, University of Edinburgh

Unlike the ‘neverendum’ in Quebec, a substate province of Canada that had two failed referendums on independence in 1980 and 1995, Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP, has declared that there will be no second referendum on independence in Scotland. He has stressed to voters that this will be the one and only referendum on independence – as he says, a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’.

I imagine that this commitment to holding only one referendum is an attempt to win over Scottish voters who may think Scotland should be an independent country in the future, but who are not entirely certain about voting yes at the moment (and surveys have revealed that there is such a difference in some people’s minds). However, I would not completely rule out there being another independence referendum in the future, especially if, in the case of a no result, a large percentage of the population votes yes.

I would imagine that the SNP would not put a second independence referendum on the table straight away, however. There would be a need to see what would come from the pro-UK parties’ commitments to strengthening the powers of the devolved Scottish Parliament, and if this satisfied public demands for stronger self-determination. This process may take years. If a new devolved settlement does not satisfy Scots, however, I would assume that the SNP – like the Parti Quebecois – would wait until there were ‘winning conditions’ – politically and economically – in Scotland before even considering holding another referendum on independence. And that could be a long time away.

James Mitchell, Professor, Co-Director, Academy of Government, University of Edinburgh

The issue of Scotland’s constitutional status will not disappear.  Opponents have promised substantial new powers and have created expectations that Scotland will be protected from cuts in public expenditure and that welfare will be protected.  There are now very high expectations of significant change even if there is a NO vote.  This means that the issue will remain high on the agenda.  If UK Government fails to deliver the issue will return as Scots seek means to express their dissatisfaction with the failure to act.
I conclude my recent book – The Scottish Question – by noting that the Scottish Question cannot be resolved in a referendum.  The issues involved recur for each generation.

Neil McGarvey, Teaching Fellow, School of Government and Public Policy, University of Strathclyde

If the result is No it is unlikely to be raised again for at least a decade. However, there may be circumstances where that could change.

IF the Conservative Party win the 2015 General Election and follow through on their commitment to hold an IN/Out EU Referendum that could raise the issue again. Especially if England votes to leave the EU and Scotland votes to stay.

The polls are very tight now. Yes has a genuine chance of winning on Thursday.

Thomas Carl LundbergLecturer in Politics, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow

Alex Salmond has stressed how the referendum is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, so I don’t think he would bring it back up while he remains first minister. I do think, however, that after a ‘no’ vote, tensions between Scotland and the rest of the UK would increase, especially if the Conservatives win the 2015 Westminster election. Scotland’s funding will probably be reduced after a ‘no’ vote, due to pressure from the rest of the UK for a needs-based system, forcing Scotland to raise personal income taxes if it wants to keep services where they are now. If the UK votes to leave the EU, the pressure to have another referendum will be even higher.
I don’t believe that the UK government could give Scotland significantly greater autonomy because the rest of the UK would object (why should Scotland get special privileges?). The UK government could also forbid another referendum or make the terms more difficult (perhaps a higher threshold of victory would be required).
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