Salmond's pitch

Alex Salmond Image copyright PA

Today I had thought might feel like being present at the birth of a brand new nation - or, at least, the first scan which reveals what the UK's offspring might look like.

Yet Scotland's First Minister and his Deputy behaved today less like excited midwives and more like low-key, well-briefed company executives launching a corporate re-branding exercise

Their pitch to a still sceptical Scottish electorate is: independence would change everything, yet nothing much at all.

So, don't worry voters, they say, the new country will have the same Queen, the same old pounds and pennies, it will still be in the EU & Nato and pensions will be paid as they are now.

However, at the same time an independent Scotland would have more childcare, fairer tax, lower energy bills, no "bedroom tax" - as the SNP and other critics call it - and no nuclear weapons.

This mix of attempted reassurance and a good old-fashioned retail offer is possible because today's document set out not just the dry mechanics of how Scotland could leave the UK. It also set out the ambitions of a Salmond-led SNP government.

I put it to Alex Salmond that what was missing in today's more than 600 page document were words like "perhaps", "maybe" or, even, "fingers crossed."

His hopes rest on the agreement of a future Westminster government, the Treasury, the Bank of England, the EU Commission, 28 other EU countries and many others besides.

His reply? People will vote for a positive vision not doom, gloom and negativity.