Scotland has proven itself a global example of the democratic process — from the discipline of the count to the determination to transport sealed ballot boxes over storm-whipped seas. Its success relied on Scottish institutions, the rule-of-law and the acceptance of the result by the losing side. All this now needs to be forensically examined by those advocating a similar electoral process in parts of the developing world. Like many of them, Scotland’s vote was about the unknown. Therefore, which Scottish institutions were vital for the referendum and how weak could they have been for it still to succeed? After getting it lethally wrong from Iraq to South Sudan, there is now a blueprint on how to get it right.