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If 'No' side wins, it will be impossible to put the 'Yes' genie back in the bottle

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The 'Free Derry Corner' mural in the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry, Northern Ireland, is adjusted to show support for the YES campaign in the Scottish referendum. Bernard Ward/PA Wire

The 'Free Derry Corner' mural in the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry, Northern Ireland, is adjusted to show support for the YES campaign in the Scottish referendum. Bernard Ward/PA Wire

The 'Free Derry Corner' mural in the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry, Northern Ireland, is adjusted to show support for the YES campaign in the Scottish referendum. Bernard Ward/PA Wire

The streets around Scotland's parliament in Edinburgh were buzzing with anticipation this evening as the country stood on threshold of history

There was a strong feeling that while the no side might just shade it in the poll for Independence tonight, it will be impossible to put the Yes genie back in the bottle.

They started dancing on the streets outside the parliament from early evening.

It could have been a session in the back of a pub in Clare, as dancers took their partners.

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Chris McAleese walks by a polling sign at Bannockburn Polling Station, as voters go to the polls in the Scottish Referendum. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Chris McAleese walks by a polling sign at Bannockburn Polling Station, as voters go to the polls in the Scottish Referendum. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Yes and No campaigners (names not given) outside Notre Dame School in Glasgow, as voters go to the polls in the Scottish Referendum. Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Yes and No campaigners (names not given) outside Notre Dame School in Glasgow, as voters go to the polls in the Scottish Referendum. Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Yes and No campaigners (names not given) outside Notre Dame School in Glasgow, as voters go to the polls in the Scottish Referendum. Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Yes and No campaigners (names not given) outside Notre Dame School in Glasgow, as voters go to the polls in the Scottish Referendum. Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

People go to vote in the Scottish Referendum at Notre Dame School in Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

People go to vote in the Scottish Referendum at Notre Dame School in Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Trisha Devine with her nails painted outside Bannockburn Polling Station, as voters go to the polls in the Scottish Referendum. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Trisha Devine with her nails painted outside Bannockburn Polling Station, as voters go to the polls in the Scottish Referendum. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Chris McAleese (right) speaks with Gerrard Corrigan and Robbie Devine, eight, outside Bannockburn Polling Station, as voters go to the polls in the Scottish Referendum. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Chris McAleese (right) speaks with Gerrard Corrigan and Robbie Devine, eight, outside Bannockburn Polling Station, as voters go to the polls in the Scottish Referendum. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

A voter arrives at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A voter arrives at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A voter arrives at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A voter arrives at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A voter arrives at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A voter arrives at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The 'Free Derry Corner' mural in the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry, Northern Ireland, is adjusted to show support for the YES campaign in the Scottish referendum. Bernard Ward/PA Wire

The 'Free Derry Corner' mural in the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry, Northern Ireland, is adjusted to show support for the YES campaign in the Scottish referendum. Bernard Ward/PA Wire

Labour leader Ed Miliband (centre) canvasses voters in the Knightswood area of Glasgow during a historic day for Scotland as voters determine whether the country should remain part of the United Kingdom. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Labour leader Ed Miliband (centre) canvasses voters in the Knightswood area of Glasgow during a historic day for Scotland as voters determine whether the country should remain part of the United Kingdom. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Labour leader Ed Miliband canvasses voters in the Knightswood area of Glasgow during a historic day for Scotland as voters determine whether the country should remain part of the United Kingdom. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Labour leader Ed Miliband canvasses voters in the Knightswood area of Glasgow during a historic day for Scotland as voters determine whether the country should remain part of the United Kingdom. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

A voter arrives at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A voter arrives at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A voter arrives at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A voter arrives at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A voter arrives at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A voter arrives at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A 'Yes' campaigner sits outside the Waternish polling station on the Isle of Skye September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

A 'Yes' campaigner sits outside the Waternish polling station on the Isle of Skye September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Presiding officer Anne MacKay (L) and her father and Poll Clerk George MacKay are seen outside the Coulags caravan polling station, in the Scottish Highlands September 18, 2014.  REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Presiding officer Anne MacKay (L) and her father and Poll Clerk George MacKay are seen outside the Coulags caravan polling station, in the Scottish Highlands September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Poll clerk George MacKay sits in the Coulags caravan polling station, in the Scottish Highlands September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Poll clerk George MacKay sits in the Coulags caravan polling station, in the Scottish Highlands September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

A man touches the memorial of William Wallace, who led the Scottish rebellion against Edward I, in Smithfield, London September 18, 2014.  REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

A man touches the memorial of William Wallace, who led the Scottish rebellion against Edward I, in Smithfield, London September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

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Chris McAleese walks by a polling sign at Bannockburn Polling Station, as voters go to the polls in the Scottish Referendum. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Eighty-year-old Laurie Irvine, an emigre Scot, who returned to Edinburgh for the poll, told me in the parliament's restaurant: "We may not win this time, but if we don't, we'll win in five years' time or ten years' time. It's just a matter of time before we have independence."

Polls opened at 7 am and it immediately became apparent that the turnout would be enormous.

While in Ireland, campaigners are banned from canvassing outside polling centres, in the Scottish poll they were right at the gates.

At one polling station, Yes supporters had scrawled: "Vote Yes or else."

Contrary to the impression that the no side are all shrinking violets, they made their presence felt outside the Spitalfields Community centre on Edinburgh's southside, and outnumbered the Yes advocates.

No campaigner Alanna Hoggard said the former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had played a crucial role in turning the tide for the no campaign with his rousing rallying call that Scotland did not belong to the SNP.

Proving himself to be a greater orator than David Cameron he had almost shouted “This is everyone’s flag, everyone’s country.”

Outside the parliament, there was a cosmopolitan collection of protesters from all over Europe, each seeking independence for their region or mini-state.

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They hope that if Scotland gains independence their time will come.

I met up with Catalans decked out in red, yellow and blue flags. They had driven over 2,000 kilometres from Barcelona in a tiny Seat 600.

The music blaring from their car, gave the foggy square  between the  Scottish parliament and the queen's palace at Holyrood the balmy atmosphere of Barcelona seafront.

There were also Bretons, Sardinians, and even a man calling for independence for the ancient English kingdom of Wessex.

The only surprise was that there was no representative from the People's Republic of Cork

As he voted in Aberdeenshire,  Alex Salmond was delighted to win the a first game in the early morning by securing the endorsement of tennis star Andy Murray.

Salmond was chuffed indeed and told reporters:  “I hear that Andy Murray has hit another winner today.”

Kim Bielenberg in Edinburgh


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