Think the referendum is a fight? Wait until September 19...

SCOTLAND'S date with destiny is looming large and all the politicians can think about is September 18.

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Except, that is, those who have one eye on what happens afterwards and in particular Westminster in May 2015 and Holyrood in May 2016.

They are, after all, politicians, and as such need to have a constituency to represent.

So while they are spending the next three weeks campaigning round the clock for your vote in the referendum, many will be thinking what the possible futures hold.

The big one is Alex Salmond. If it's a Yes vote, it is inconceivable he would do anything other than seek to lead negotiations for an independent Scotland as First Minister and then stand to be the first independent First Minister of Scotland.

History has a very strong gravitational pull.

But will others allow him to do so unchallenged?

If it is a No vote will he resign and hand over the reins, with Nicola Sturgeon waiting to take them up?

Don't bet on her colleagues giving her a free run when Mr Salmond's time is up.

Then there is the Westminster contingent, with Angus Robertson, Stewart Hosie and Eilidh Whiteford no doubt looking for their reward in an independent Scottish Government, if it comes to pass.

For Labour it is even more complicated, with so many MPs, who would be out of a job if it's a Yes? And the party will be desperately looking to be re-energised if it's a No.

If it's Yes, then the 2016 Holyrood elections suddenly become more appealing than the redundant 2015 Westminster poll. What then for those who shunned Holyrood for the grandeur of Westminster, such as Jim Murphy, Douglas Alexander and self confessed Devo-phobe Ian Davidson?

Expect an almighty scramble for available Holyrood seats or top place on the party lists.

And in that scenario, Labour would no longer have the luxury of the sweetener of a seat in the even grander House of Lords to persuade someone to step aside as it has done in the past.

There are enough on the Labour benches who have been either anonymous or ineffective who could be cleared with little fuss to make way, but how would the voters feel about the return of those who made it clear they would rather be at Westminster?

You can bet it would be used by their opponents to undermine them.

And would the supposed 'big hitters' return for anything less than the role of party leader in Scotland, which Johann Lamont would surely have something to say about.

So if you think the next few weeks are going to be intriguing, wait until September 19.

Local government

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