CARDS on the table.
When the genes for economic literacy were doled out there was a fair queue up ahead. So I'll leave the finer points of where John Swinney is putting his money in relation to his mouth to those who crunch numbers with rather more credibility.
In any event his package, self-describing as a "budget for independence" was inevitably part pragmatic and part wish list.
Having said which, politics hinge on trust and if I were to rate that commodity against the respective characters of the Holyrood and Westminster keepers of the national purses George Osborne could safely rely on coming second. His recent performance in Scotland asserting what might be in my wallet some three decades down the line suggested possession of a crystal ball so far sighted that Madam Zola could only sigh with envy. Alternatively he got his departmental minions to root around in their dressing up boxes of statistics and damned lies to come up with whatever figures might frighten the horses.
Compare and contrast the summer speechifying of Alexander Salmond of that ilk. He has come over all Mr Soothing in his six unions speech, placing as much emphasis on what won't change after independence as what will and should.
You have a matched set of Coronation mugs from the last century? Worry not. Queen Bess and her heirs will still be there for those who like that sort of thing, albeit under a newly-written rule book reminding them not to get ideas above their constitutional station.
Fret not either about your European citizenship, at least not unless Nigel Farage pushes David Cameron into a hasty referendum, and enough taxi drivers, pub bores, and frothy-mouthed former colonels vote to haul the UK out of the EU lock, stock and Scotland.
And don't get Aunty Betty from Bolton's knickers in a twist about her annual trip to Troon either. She and all our other English friends and relations will be as welcome as ever sans passport with the possible exception of Saturdays when England and Scotland have a footy match.
The pound in your pocket will still look much the same too, Scottish banknotes circulating within a sterling zone, as presently envisaged.
Plus, to the palpable dismay of some of his footsoldiers, he pledges to keep the defence union with Nato intact, albeit on a non-nuclear basis.
All we are focused on, says the First Minister, is breaking that single union, the political and economic one, which stops the nation deciding its own political priorities and allegiances and doesn't allow that very nice Mr Swinney to plan for Scottish growth, his budgetary room for manoeuvre being restricted by them down there.
There are those not a million miles from his closer allies who are privately anxious about his going round the country stirring up comfort. They hanker after something more overtly visionary, something to let the pulses have a modest race. They agonise about folks listening to all those reassurances and concluding that if the more some things change the more lots will stay the same, what's all the fuss about? There are those in the commentariat, enraged by Project Fear, who urge his compatriots in the Yes campaign to take off the kid gloves and start kicking the other camp in the political goolies.
I make the passing observation that most of the getintaethem brigade are of the male persuasion. To whom I can only say, calm down dears.
As we come up to the "one year to go" gun, all manner of unsolicited advice is about to be chucked at referendum campaigners. Next week will see the publication of a new survey from the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.
Without breaking its embargo it is safe to say is members are less than enamoured by the quality of debate thus far. Fair scunnered would probably cover it.
For this voter, it's not just the tenor or the quality of the arguments proving dispiriting, so much as the grounds on which battle tends to have been joined. If this referendum should be about anything it's surely about values, about social justice, about building something different and better. That's why the fledgling Common Weal campaign is gaining so much ground, often underneath the political radar. It plays to the longing of ordinary folk to stop the mud-slinging, and navel-gazing and lift their eyes just a little to an agenda that transcends the party political and looks instead at this country in terms of what kind of world we want the next generations to inhabit.
The obvious example is the bedroom tax. An iniquitous piece of socially divisive, mean-spirited, corrosive legislation so lacking in the imagination to foresee the collateral damage to families, you'd think it had been thought up by some bloke in an ivory tower.
Oh hangon it was. Step forward Iain Duncan Smith, proud rent-free lodger in his father in law's spare stately pad.
It needs to be thrown on the garbage heap, and any decent politician should be saying so with no hesitation and without phoning London to check the script.
And while we're on matters which properly affront a nation with any pretensions to compassion, it is nothing less than outrageous that the UK Border Agency should use an office in Glasgow Govan as one of two pilot programmes where the walls and chairs and any other handy surface is pressed into service to ask vulnerable people coming in for advice if they've thought about going home. Just in case they miss the message there's a handy visual clue in the shape of an aeroplane doubling as a billboard. The UK Border Agency has form in this country, locking up kids in detention centres and making dawn raids on family homes before bundling them into vans prior to air-freighting them out.
They need to dismantle this latest piece of trashy propaganda pronto and any decent politician should be saying so with no hesitation and without phoning London to check the script.
These should be the building blocks of this debate. The fact that the appalling nature of welfare "reform" cannot be tackled by Holyrood. That we should watch, in the year of whatever Lord you recognise 2013, disabled people having their slender financial means reduced, the mentally ill decreed fit for work, newly-redundant workers having their inadequate allowance held back a bit "to help them concentrate on finding work".
You might call it a Dickensian approach to social security except that even Bob Cratchit didn't have to contend with a zero hours contract.
And, no accident here, the very term social security has disappeared since there's nothing resembling secure about the modern workplace.
What is being created by the Coalition Government isn't so much a nasty party as a nasty society. Every man and woman for themselves and the devil take the poor devils left behind. No wonder Sarah Teather threw in the towel. There were only so many insults to liberal values she could take, and I'll take a random bet that a few of her LibDem compatriots are finding sleep elusive these nights too.
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.