I hope we can all continue to discuss this without rancour.
Your friend's comment is an interesting one, and one I wouldn't disagree with. My reservation though is that Scotland would need a firm hand at the helm, at least for 20/30 years, if it became independent because, inevitably, there would be teething problems. Alex Salmond is a politician many people, myself included, have great admiration for, but when he retires/dies, who is going to take over? Certainly nobody I can think of at the present time, and Salmond would be a hard act to follow anyway. Scotland could, in effect, end up in a state of chaos. On the other hand you could ask, when will things improve at Westminster? Certainly not in the foreseeable future. Tories apart, the present Labour party doesn't inspire confidence and neither do the LibDems (I'll be surprised if the Coalition government survives until 2016).
Also what would happen to the other political parties at Holyrood since the terms Tory, Labour and LibDem would cease to have any relevance? New parties would have to be created since opposition is an essential part of government, otherwise you end up with a dictatorship.
Salmond is a stand out leader, so contemplating the future without him is difficult, especially as his love of curries, isn't doing anything for his long term health outcomes! He has got a strong group at the head of the party, but like you say nobody with his certain 'je ne sais quio, mais non?' Hopefully he will prove inspirational to people coming through now and in the future into Scottish politics.
The rest of the Scottish parties are a joke, due to weak personnel allied to disastrous British parties. The Rennie Clegg combination, anyone? (There has got to be a Ren and Stimpy joke in there somewhere.)
Lamont and Milliband? She has only just gone and attacked the SNP on its social inclusion and equality programme.
Labours' vision in Scotland? Having outlined her plans to means test 'everything' to quote - 'no deals will be off the table' ie prescriptions, free travel for over 60's, tuition fees, BECAUSE the people of Scotland are living in a 'something for nothing culture!' I certainly now have a vision of Scottish Labour. It is one where Johann Lamont stands at the head of some all powerful, inadequate and unenlightened Labour committee, weighing and arbitrating over the lives of a long queue of Scottish people (who don't come from Lanarkshire.) in front of some, elaborate, costly and convoluted scales of justice, they've set up outside Glasgow city chambers. I am not mentioning Milliband, because I had forgotten about him. It is that bad.
Finally Davidson and Cameron. The South East based conservatives are, quite rightly, seen as the enemy by most of Scotland and huge chunks of England. The priviledged few, looking after the concerns of their own people, that's how it seems increasingly when you look what they are doing to the NHS and education down South. Sadly or not, they don't seem to have the time to do anything but patronise Scotland by interfering in its' concerns. Telling us they care, while putting us down, painfully near rebuking us, for having the temerity to imagine we could survive without being in a political union with them, that's a hard act to pull off, which, frankly, I don't think they do. Funnily enough Davidson came from nowhere politically. She wasn't even a member of the party 2 years before got in and snatched the leadership of the party, (some say unfairly, there was alot of acrimony at the time) from a guy who was fighting on the ticket that to succeed again in Scotland, they needed their own independent Scottish Conservative party, which funnily enough, I think is true, Go figure.
So really it is not just Cameron that is playing into Salmond and the SNP's hands.