Which is one reason why salmond might like to hedge his bets and ask a two-question referendum.
salmond, 59, said he had made the decision because it was time to hand over the struggle to a new generation.
Unfortunately, it turns out that renewable energy is, after independence, salmond's other big idea.
And, as he warns salmond, the fight is just beginning: "You will be long gone, but the people of Scotland will forever suffer."
Last weekend it emerged that police are looking into a death threats made about Mr salmond on Facebook.
Typically of salmond he stood down not with the kind words of a retiree, but with the point-scoring aggression of an old warrior.
salmond, therefore, was careful not to promise an immediate plebiscite.
He was comprehensively out-foxed by salmond, the Scottish National Party leader, who now finds himself in a win-win position.
His unionist opponents, however, are determined to force a simple, one-question referendum on salmond: yes or no to independence?
The name of a Captain salmond of the now extinct parish or manor of Salterford is connected with this transaction.