The day of reckoning for the UK is upon us.
The outcome of the Scottish referendum will have an effect on industrial policy as it will many other aspects of our national life.
This is the party conference season but it will be dominated by Scotland – for better or worse.
Even if it is a No vote, the concentration on matters north of the border will remain. If it is Yes then there will be considerable instability, turbulent waters and difficult times for both Conservatives and Labour.
Either way, politics will never be the same again.
Interestingly, in the midst of all this turmoil, opinion polls have shown that nine out of ten people want more manufacturing in this country.
Manufacturing creates jobs, indeed well paid jobs.
It is easy to talk about IT, retail, leisure, call centres and the like, any jobs are welcome, but it is manufacturing which generates growth.
For some seven years, I have been advocating bringing back to this country work that has gone offshore to the likes of India and China. The US has been particularly successful in doing this but we are nowhere near at that level.
We need to take stock of what we should be producing in this country. But we are constantly thwarted by short-termism, lack of finance and the absence of a national strategy.
The Government speaks of having an industrial policy but it is all tokenism.
We need to be thinking long term. HS2 is good and Birmingham must take advantage.
The trouble is the Government spends money but never measures the impact – short-termism again.
Whatever the Scottish vote, we need that industrial policy to create growth and employment. We need that long-term strategy and then stick with it.
Scots have spread all over the world – at the heart of enterprise and empire. In India they ran tea estates and industry. Scottish managers operated the railways.
Sadly, the willingness to venture into the unknown has largely been lost. Scotland needs to get that spirit of enterprise back. They are making their own choices in education and health.
This week we will find out whether they are set on a step into the sort of unknown from which there is no way back.
* Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya is a Labour peer and founder of Warwick Manufacturing Group