Are two referenda going to be needed?
A view is emerging there will need to be two Scottish referenda: the first giving the SNP government in Edinburgh the authority to negotiate the terms of a split from the UK; the second taking place after the negotiations so that voters would know exactly what was involved.
My guess is that the two stage approach would be more likely to produce a YES on the first ballot because this would mean that Scotland was not taking an irrevocable step. There would be less risk involved.
The second vote would be the critical one because it would be irrevocable.
According to the Scotsman Professor Iain McLean of Nuffield College, Oxford told MPs at the Scottish select committee that:
â€œAs the terms of independence are being changed from week to week and day to day by the Scottish Government, there will be an element of a pig in a poke about independence…The Scottish people will not know what theyâ€™re voting for because the negotiations on the nature of the split will not have taken place.â€
According to the paper another of the constitutional experts Professor Vernon Bogdanor, of Kingâ€™s College London, said the shape of independence would not just be down to Mr Salmond, but the Westminster government of the day which would fight for UK interests.
Bogdanor, incidentally, was Cameron’s tutor while at Oxford.
So a possible outcome could be a YES vote authorising Alex Salmond and his team to enter negotiation only to be followed a couple of years later by voters north of the border rejecting the outcome.