FOLLOWING the storm of speculation and argument that raged after the Prime Minister went on the offensive over an independence referendum, a little calm seems to have settled on the debate.
The frenzied skirmishing of the first week has given way to more thoughtful engagement in the second, as the opposing sides have decided what is most important to them, and wisely noted the public's distaste for politicians in a strop.
So we can now be fairly sure that the vote on Scotland's future will be in the autumn of 2014, in line with Alex Salmond's wishes.
Coalition ministers, happy to have flushed out any date, privately admit they won't go to war over the difference between that year and 2013.
For its part, the SNP Government says it is now "not an impediment" for the Electoral Commission to oversee the vote, rather than, as suggested in 2010, a new dedicated Scottish Commission. Nor does the SNP plan to die in a ditch over its proposal to lower the voting age to 16.
Even the initial, fizzing row over the legality of the referendum is abating.
Lord Wallace, the Advocate General, largely wasted his breath on Friday when he again thundered about the UK government view of a referendum under Holyrood's existing powers being illegal.
The Scottish Government doesn't agree, but it now seems more than ready to accept Wallace's offer of a Section 30 order under the Scotland Act to ensure the vote is immune to legal challenge.
Indeed, the SNP Government's own consultation, published on Burns Night, will explicitly refer to the Section 30 option. It may soon become an accepted part of the process, provided there are no strings attached.
The emerging areas of compromise have also highlighted the disputes that remain, principally what will appear on the ballot paper.
This week's consultation will confirm Salmond's preference for a single yes-no question on whether Scotland should become independent. Westminster would dearly love to keep it at that.
But, and it is a big but, Salmond will also seek views on whether another option should appear, perhaps "devolution max", which would give Scotland control of almost all its tax and spending.
Westminster will not be pleased, but disagreement is inevitable, and does not always imply disaster.
There are months of negotiations ahead, and the more mature approach of recent days suggests our politicians are capable of finding a way through.
David Cameron's remark yesterday that he wouldn't campaign on the basis that Scotland was incapable of surviving outside the UK was another good sign. So, too, was his assertion that he would be making a "positive" argument for the Union.
However, the Prime Minister cannot hope to be taken at his word if the other Unionist parties, and a host of outriders, continue to make the kind of lurid negative attacks seen since the New Year.
For while the politicians at the heart of the process seem to be acting more sensibly, those on the margins seem increasingly hysterical.
The apocalyptic visions which struck Labour before the 2007 election – remember John Reid's warning of an independent Scotland being more vulnerable to al-Qaeda attack? – are suddenly back in vogue.
Hence the 48-hour convulsions over the pound, the euro, national debt, defence and Trident, each one touted as an insoluble, independence-slaying crisis until it turns out to be no such thing.
Unionist parties say they want the independence debate to move off process and on to substance.
Let's get down to hard facts, they say, not get lost in bureaucratic niceties. Fine.
But let it be facts, not fantasy. Dusting down old scare stories won't cut it. The voters have already seen through them.
The last fortnight has shown that at the very top, the conversation is becoming more rational. That progress should not be ruined by some in the Unionist basement running a twin-track operation that simultaneously peddles garbage.
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