By Douglas Lindsay, with Dr Ian Shackleton, senior lecturer at the Glasgow School of Politics and Football. Who Will Be Scotland's First Prime Minister?

Some analysts say that voters in Scotland shouldn't even be considering the identity of their first Prime Minister until after a Yes vote has been secured.

However, with the polls closing on a weekly basis, and with Rangers more or less the only Scottish business left as a member of the CBI as the latest fiasco engulfs the floundering No campaign, some political insiders, such as Dr Ian Shackleton, believe that this is precisely the kind of issue that Scots must address in advance.

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'Of course, this is a legacy vote,' said Dr Shackleton as he spoke to me this morning in his office on the 99th floor of the magnificent Salmond 101 in Glasgow's flourishing East End. 'It's about the next thousand years not the next five minutes. Nevertheless, voters need to think about this issue. It's unavoidable.'

Dr Shackleton talked me through the runners and riders.


Alex Salmond: 1/5

'It's his to lose,' says Shackleton. 'As clear a favourite to be Scotland's first PM as Mandela was to be the first President of post-Apartheid South Africa. But we Scots have a way of hitting the corner flag from five yards out in front of an open goal. The favourites tag rarely sits well with us. Mr Salmond should watch where he puts his feet. Although to be fair, he can't actually see his feet.'

Nicola Sturgeon: 200/1

Salmond's able Sancho Panza, Sturgeon is in prime position to take his place when he chooses to step down. Odds fell away dramatically, however, after the 'handbags at yawn' debate debacle with Johann Lamont. 'No doubt that Sturgeon was the big loser there,' says Shackleton. 'They both looked bad, but everyone already knew that Lamont was like David Beckham at a convention of Stephen Hawkings. This pitched Sturgeon at the same level.'


'It'll be interesting,' says Shackleton, admittedly stretching the definition of the word, 'to see what the likes of Douglas Alexander and Big Gordon Brown do. Will they look to get an English seat and remain at Westminster, or will they come home and throw their hat into the Holyrood ring?'

Johann Lamont: 140,000,000/1

'Could possibly find her place in a future Labour government buying the biscuits,' says Shackleton.

Big Gordon Brown: 7/1

No one knows what would happen if Big Gordon Brown decided to jump into the tiny swimming pool of Scottish politics. Shackleton, however, believes his presence could be a game changer. 'People love him for his winning smile and witty one-liners. It's possible that enough time might have elapsed since he oversaw the total cataclysmic collapse of the British economy that voters will have forgotten that he was rubbish.'

Wendy Alexander: 20/1

'Wendy Alexander is the shark in Jaws. You can't see her, and she seems to have disappeared, but she's still out there, biding her time. The SNP just need to hope they have a Robert Shaw in their midst when she returns. Sure, people can't stand her, but on the other hand you want your Prime Minister to have giant balls.'


Ruth Davidson: n/a

So unelectable, she is even known to spoil her own ballot paper.

Rory Stewart: 25,000/1

Already has an English seat in Westminster, so doesn't need to come north. 'Nevertheless,' says Shackleton, 'his life has been this kind of strange 19th century Boy's Own adventure, and not everyone hates him yet because they don't know who he is. Could just be the chap to push the number of Conservative voters in Scotland back into double figures.'


Willie Rennie: Billions/1

'You can see why we are where we are,' says Shackleton. 'On the one hand you have Alex Salmond; on the other, Lamont, Davidson and Rennie. The era of the heavyweight politician in Scotland is over. We're moving into the Blancmange Period.'

Danny Alexander: Billions/1

'The only way Danny Alexander has a future in politics,' says Shackleton, 'is if he gets the Army on his side and mounts a coup. It's an actual statistical fact that no one currently living will ever vote for Danny Alexander again, ever.'

'Let there be no counting of chickens,' says Shackleton. 'There's nowhere like Scotland for taking a foregone conclusion and missing the hole from twelve inches. If we get a Yes vote in September, the lead-up to the country's first ever General Election will be like Kennedy v Nixon multiplied by the X Factor.'

Other Referendum News From The Past Week

Thursday 17th April:

In what analysts are calling the #Indyref smoking gun, doubts were cast today over the future of the current Scotland football team, when sources deep within world governing body FIFA indicated that if the country becomes independent, it will be required to reapply for membership.

While most consider membership to be a foregone conclusion, it does mean that Scotland will be starting again from the bottom of the heap. As a result, if the current team qualifies for Euro 2016 in France, they will then be barred from taking that place, as Scotland will have become independent a few months previously.

'People assume,' said a friend of a FIFA insider, 'that because Scotland already have a team, that they will continue their membership. Nothing could be further from the truth. The current membership of the four individual UK countries is anomalous, and governed by very particular provisions. If Scotland becomes independent, then those provisions no longer apply, and Scotland for sure will need to start once more from the bottom. They are currently ranked 22nd in the world, but the new Scotland will be ranked 207th, alongside Bhutan and the Turks & Caicos Islands.'

'It could be years before we recover,' says Dr Shackleton, 'if indeed we ever do. This could be the final nail in the coffin of Scottish football. In independence terms it might seem trivial, but there's no doubt it's a momentum stopper. For the first time in several months, this morning the Yes campaign are biting into a stale doughnut.'

Former Scotland manager Craig Brown said, 'As long as we put ten men behind the ball, the Turks & Caicos shouldn't give us any problems.'

Tuesday, 15th April:

As the row over the future of the Trident submarine programme escalated, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, today took time out of his busy schedule destabilising Ukraine to get involved in the discussion over the future of the defence of the UK.

Addressing a crowd of cheering oligarchs in Moscow's Red Square, while standing bare-chested on the head of a live bear, Putin recalled the glory days of the Cold War. 'Those were the good times,' he told the assembled masses. 'The world knew where it stood. Europe was a place of peace, and one of the bedrocks of that solidity was the UK. Now, just as we in Russia are working on plans to implement Cold War II, Scotland threatens to remove that bedrock. Breaking up the UK would be catastrophic.'

Pointing out that there are over three thousand Russian speakers in Scotland, Putin said that if there were signs of destabilisation, 'our troops would be forced to invade Scotland to protect them. We wouldn't want to do it, but we have a duty to safeguard the lives of Russian speakers everywhere.'

Asked if the term 'Russian speaker' applied to some wee fellow called Malky from Paisley who decided to learn Russian at night school for a few weeks to meet women, and whose vocabulary didn't extend much beyond spasiba, nyet and Zenit St Petersburg, Putin admitted that Malky was known to him, and that Russia would do everything in its power to make sure he was safe.

Later, Putin spoke wistfully, as he crushed the head of a Dagestani separatist between his thumb and forefinger while cuddling a puppy. 'Cold War II is going to be great for everyone. The good times are coming back. Scotland, however, should beware. If the life of so much as one person who knows the Russian for glasnost is put at risk, we will be forced to launch an invasion.'