When The Scotsman is agitatedly reporting a poll showing moves towards a Yes vote then you know it’s time to start believing it might happen. Not in the way that belief works as a manifestation of the dreams of the independence movement, but giving plausibility to the idea that by next October Scotland may well have taken its first steps to once again becoming a sovereign state.

This is of course great news for supporters of the Yes campaign and will not cheer Better Together and the other unionist campaign groups at all. More importantly, it requires those currently opposed to independence to seriously ready themselves for the democratic changeover and for all of Holyrood’s opposition parties (including the pro-indy Greens) to come up with a plan to beat the SNP in the first post-independence elections. If the white paper was an ‘SNP manifesto’ as many people have claimed, shouldn’t the Tories, Liberals, Labour and the Greens be making up their own manifestos for the day after?

Marked out as the bright young hope of Scottish Labour, what is Anas Sarwar’s Plan B? There’ll be no more Progress think tank meetings in London and probably no Sarwar family seat either. As someone who lambasts the SNP for not focusing on the issues that matter to people, can we assume that  Anas has a long list of issues to talk about the day after? Can Scottish Labour just plot UK policy onto Scotland or will they have to come up with an entirely new political project in the space of 9 months before that final UK general election of 2015? Similarly, can the Liberal Democrats recover their traditional territory without any real policy input. What are their plans on an independent Scottish energy policy? What are the Lib Dem views on currency, immigration and the broadcast media? Come a Yes vote it could be the No parties drawing up ideas on the back of a fag packet, and in a new democracy with one party making all the running that is a dangerous place to be.

The No campaign portrayal of Alex Salmond as a tinpot dictator risks becoming a reality should they not get their act together. An SNP dominated Scotland could be a self-fulfilling prophecy in the absence of any alternative vision from opposition parties, so by refusing to embrace the notion of independence at all they are playing a very dangerous game with democracy. For everybody’s sake, we should probably hope there are a stack of brown envelopes in the locked drawers of Ruth, Johann and Willie’s desks underneath all those UKOK badges.