Could a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum prompt independence contagion in Europe?

Pompeu Casanovas, professor of political science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, says Yes.

Independence movements involve a spread of feelings that can run very fast over the internet, particularly if the time is ripe.

The Arab Spring taught us not to underestimate digital political environments.

However, Scottish independence could have other effects on stateless populations across Europe.

First, a Yes vote in Scotland could fuel independence sentiment, because it would represent a possibility made true. All Catalan eyes are on the Scottish ballot right now.

But the independence of Scotland would also disrupt accepted ideas of what constitutes a political community in Europe today, posing a serious challenge to the lack of European rules on secessionist states.

I have no doubt that Scottish independence would produce deep and long-lasting effects in Europe.

It would be a renewed coming of age for historical communities and pre-modern states.

Pawel Swidlicki, a research analyst at Open Europe, says No.

Certainly, a Yes vote would mean secessionists across Europe would feel emboldened and may advance fresh demands for referendums.

But there are few areas with genuine deep-rooted and politically mainstream movements.

Bretons, Bavarians, Silesians and others may have distinct identities and distrust their national capitals, but few separatist parties come remotely close to matching the SNP’s electoral success, suggesting limited public enthusiasm.

The exceptions are Catalonia and Flanders, where the debate is already well advanced, but both are currently deadlocked; Barcelona can’t hold its own referendum without Madrid’s consent, while the Brussels question is a huge practical obstacle to Flemish independence.

In the longer term, if Scottish independence were deemed a success, it could make other such movements more attractive and credible.

Ultimately, however, the main drivers will be political and economic developments within individual countries.