Scotland didn’t look any different as I went for a morning run as the sun came out over Inverness this morning. But its politics feel very different, and nobody can predict where they will lead now.
I spoke at a dinner for the local Chamber of Commerce and many, in common with people I saw being box popped on the news, said there was a difference between Scotland voting SNP and Scotland voting to go independent from the rest of the UK.
But a few years ago the conventional wisdom was that Alex Salmond would never be first minister. Even when he was, the conventional wisdom was that he was unlikely ever to get a majority. Now he has. So beware conventional wisdoms – like the one that says Scots may vote SNP but will never vote for independence.
During my speech I went through all the qualities required for leadership and good strategic communications. I won’t go through them all here because I am about to leave for the train, but I must say Salmond ticked an awful lot of the boxes.
The issue was leadership. It always is in elections. And people felt he had it. Now he has momentum, and neither David Cameron nor Labour nor anyone else who believes in the Union should underestimate that.
As I tweeted last night, a non Salmond supporter said he felt the SNP leader was having the same impact on Scots as Tony Blair did on Brits in the early years of the Labour government. ‘There is something of the Midas touch,’ he said.
That will not be easy to counter. There was also a general view among the business people that Scottish heavy bitters among Labour ranks in Westminster need to think about doing a Salmond, and head to Holyrood.