Belfast Telegraph

Scottish independence: Outcome of today's historic ballot hinges on 350,000 undecided voters

By Adrian Rutherford

Scotland's day of destiny has arrived as voters decide the fate of the United Kingdom in an historic ballot.

Live Scotland results: Referendum counts from 32 councils on day of reckoning for Yes and No voters 

After months of campaigning, more than four million Scots are choosing if they want to go independent and tear up the 300-year-old Union.

The outcome remains on a knife-edge, with one poll last night calling victory for the No side – but by the slenderest of margins.

The Ipsos/MORI survey put the pro-Union vote on just 51% – a 14-point swing.

Yesterday both campaigns held mass rallies in a final attempt to sway voters ahead of a momentous decision which could change the UK for ever. As the battle for Scotland's future reached a dramatic conclusion:

Alex Salmond delivered a final rallying cry in Perth, pledging that voters had nothing to fear from his dream of an independent Scotland.

He said: "This is our opportunity of a lifetime and we must seize it with both hands."

Gordon Brown led the No side in pleading for the future of the Union, telling Salmond: "Scotland belongs to all of us."

The Prime Minister indicated he will not resign if the Union is ripped apart.

The outcome hinged on as many as 350,000 still undecided voters.

The battles reached fever pitch on the eve of Scotland's historic big decision.

Yesterday both sides hit the streets for one last day of frantic campaigning.

Addressing pro-Union activists in Glasgow, Mr Brown said: "The silent majority will be silent no more."

The former Prime Minister urged anyone with doubts about the risks of separation to vote No, adding: "What we created together, let no nationalist split asunder."

Mr Brown said the No campaign had been proud of its "patriotic vision, proud of our Scottish identity" as well as being "proud of the Scottish Parliament that we, not the nationalist party, created". Mr Salmond said he was confident voters would back independence.

Speaking in Perth last night, the Scottish First Minister pledged an independent Scotland would be the "closest friend, most honest counsel and most committed ally" to the rest of the UK.

"We want to wake up on Friday the first day of creating a better country, knowing that we did this, we made it happen."

He added: "This opportunity is truly historic. There are men and women all over Scotland looking in the mirror knowing that the moment has come. It's our choice and our opportunity and our time."

Polls continue to suggest the outcome is too close to call.

Last night an Ipsos-MORI survey for broadcaster STV put support for Yes on 49% against 51% for No. Three other polls in the previous 24 hours had put the Yes side ahead by 52% to 48%.

Survation also released its final poll, which suggested 53% of voters will support the Union while 47% will vote Yes. All polls excluded undecided voters.

With the UK's fate set to be decided in the next 24 hours – the result is expected between 5am and 7am tomorrow – David Cameron signalled that he will resist calls to quit if Scotland votes to go it alone. The Prime Minister said he was determined to fight on to next year's general election.

"My name is not on the ballot paper. What's on the ballot paper is 'does Scotland want to stay in the United Kingdom, or does Scotland want to separate itself from the United Kingdom?'.

"That's the only question that will be decided on Thursday night. The question about my future will be decided at the British general election coming soon."

Last night emotions in Scotland were still running high with accusations of intimidation from both sides. Scottish police are on standby for large-scale demonstrations whatever the result.

Scottish Independence Vote further reading

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Scottish independence: Battle between Yes and No takes a bitter twist in final hours of campaigning

Scottish independence: No camp drowned out by noisy, flamboyant and abrasive rivals who sense historic win 

Scottish independence: Break-up of the Union could hit Northern Ireland, warn business chiefs

Scottish independence: Ties that bind Northern Ireland and Scotland go way back and will survive the referendum 

Scottish independence: From oil and the pound to the Queen and tax - everything you need to know about the referendum

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