Only when bare-knuckle negotiations with other interested parties are done would Scots have any real idea what might lie before them. The result could offer a safe and prosperous future: but what if only a fraction of what we have been promised becomes fact?
No doubt we would become members of the European Union and Nato. Doubtless we will have a currency: either our own or someone else’s. But on what terms? If the promise of sunlit uplands we voted for, after a joyous summer of Bannockburn and Commonwealth Games, turns out to be winter on a windswept Rannoch Moor, we cannot change our minds.
From 24 March, 2016, we would have to make of it what we can. Surely it would have been better if Alex Salmond had sought a mandate to leave or stay only after the negotiations were done?
To give him the freedom to take us out of the UK regardless of the terms of the deal he might get for us leaves a horrendous democratic deficit.
This could only be righted by a second referendum: a judgment by the Scottish people on the terms of the divorce; after the divorce settlement has been negotiated. Only then would we have an idea what might be inside the poke.