GIVEN the referendum of 2014 will see Scots take their most momentous decision in centuries, the debate over the merits and minuses of independence has been curiously thin to date.
There have been tendentious consultations, endless bickering about process, and undignified scrapping over the political spoils of the Olympics.
Blunderbuss assertions have mingled with attacks based more on personality than principle.
It has been an unsatisfying start in many ways, and voters will rightly wonder if this is as good as it gets, or whether our politicians are capable of more substantial arguments.
However, we slowly appear to be turning a corner. Next weekend's national push by the pro-Union Better Together movement means the debate will at last get under way at local and community level, with old-fashioned, face-to-face campaigning and direct engagement with the electorate.
The move into the so-called "ground war" phase of the campaign, as opposed to the air war conducted through the media, is to be welcomed.
Yes Scotland, the SNP-backed rival campaign, has been active for months, erecting stalls at every fete, festival and gala on the calendar in an impressive display of organisation.
Better Together may be joining the fray a little late, but its arrival means both sides are now on show, and voters can inspect their wares. In return, the campaigns will get their first real sense of the public's mood as they are welcomed or cold shouldered on the street.
Through his position as First Minister, Yes Scotland's early start and a healthy bank balance, Alex Salmond and his camp have enjoyed most of the publicity so far.
They have also had some good lines, asking Scots if they would rather govern themselves or shrink from a responsibility 200 other countries embrace.
In contrast, the No camp, perhaps over-reliant on favourable opinion polls, has been underwhelming, even complacent, in its messages.
The tendency of the Unionist side, when it does speak, to go negative on the currency, economy or security has been a recurring disappointment.
Things need to change. This vital debate needs to be more vigorous, positive and nuanced.
The Olympics demonstrated a positive model for Unionism, or at least a positive outcome for a united Britain, not through bludgeoning rhetoric but by presenting a vibrant, contemporary example of co-operation for the common good.
That Better Together latched on so readily to the Games suggests they know they have been short of such inspiring arguments.
But if they can marshall more of them, and connect with people without relying on fear, then Scotland will finally have the meaningful debate it craves. We are all ears.
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 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.