A yes vote in Scotland today will change the United Kingdom forever. The decision, ultimately, is one for the Scots – but the ramifications of their actions will be felt much further afield. France, for one, will be keeping a careful eye on the outcome.
Already even the suggestion that the Scots might vote to go it alone has had an impact.
A poll suggesting a small majority for the yes camp last week sent the pound plummeting. Although subsequent surveys have put the no campaign back in the lead, investors have remained jittery about the impact of Scottish independence on the rest of the UK.
However, it is not just bankers who have been watching nervously from the sidelines. Politicians, too, fear for what it could mean at home.
Madrid, for example, is nervous about Catalonia’s vote later this autumn on independence – although the referendum is not recognised by the Spanish government.
The impact will also be felt in France. Almost one in five Bretons is said to favour independence for Brittany.
And in Corsica, the National Liberation Front has only just this year begun decommissioning weapons after 40 years of violence. Now it is seeking separation through political means. A yes vote in Scotland will almost certainly boost its hopes.
Paris won’t be thrilled about a Scottish yes for other reasons too. A separate Scotland would weaken Britain’s place in Europe and even risk sealing the outcome of the UK’s referendum on its continued EU membership.
Though only the Scots are voting today, the whole of Europe will be affected by the result.