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Scottish independence: Who would get the nukes, and other questions

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It remains to be seen whether or not enough Scots believe that economic security warrants a break with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Only 32 percent of Scots would vote to leave Britain if the vote were held tomorrow, according to the results of a recent British Social Attitudes survey. Though the nationalists hold 67 of the 129 parliamentary seats and say they have a mandate to push for independence because it was a core campaign plank in the election that brought them to power, Scotland's other main parties are against breaking away.

“It is not normal for successful countries to be broken up to create smaller countries,” says Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, the Scottish wing of the party that shares power in London as part of David Cameron's Conservative-led government.

There are several international and military gray areas that will need clarifying before the 2014 referendum, contend opponents of independence.

“The nationalists have not yet told us what an independent Scotland would look like,” says Labour's Patricia Ferguson, citing a lack of clarity over nuclear weapons stationed in Scotland and whether or not the independent country would be part of NATO.

Moreover, an independent Scotland's position in the European Union might not be automatic, believes Ms. Ferguson, whose party has sought clarification from the nationalists about what legal advice they have been given on the matter, amid speculation that Scotland might have to apply anew to Brussels if it wants to remain in the EU after voting for independence.

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