The White Paper began with a lock-in.

This sounded rather exciting; a suggestion that a select band of journalists would gain privileged access to the contents of a much-hyped definitive case for independence.

My mind also couldn't help but associate the term lock-in with alcohol. Instead we got a cooked breakfast, which assorted hacks demolished as they sniggered among themselves and digested the finer points of detail on the currency union. It was, I suppose, all intended to heighten anticipation ahead of the Big Announcement that had, after all, been built up in typically hyperbolic terms.

The First Minister said a while ago the White Paper would "resonate down through the ages" and even compared it with the Declaration of Arbroath; the usually more reserved Nicola Sturgeon confidently predicted it would answer everyone's questions about independence.

It could not, and did not, manage that, even though a section of the document set out 650 questions and answers, many of which were unintentionally comical.

Question: Are you confident that the independence negotiations will go smoothly? Answer: Yes.

On one level it was admirably thorough, on another mind-numbingly banal. And the description White Paper has always been misleading. Although Alex Salmond argued there was an "exact analogy" between it and the 1997 Scottish Office document on a devolved Scottish Parliament, the comparison didn't really hold.

White papers are statements of legislative intent; Scotland's Future: Your Guide To An Independent Scotland was that, but also a manifesto and a negotiating position rolled into one. Prospectus captured it better. It made valiant attempts to separate fact from what Alistair Darling would call Nationalist fiction, but it didn't entirely succeed.

A section headed "Gains from independence - whichever party is elected", said it would "no longer be possible for key decisions to be made by governments that do not command the support of the Scottish electorate".

But, unless "key decisions" don't include monetary policy, the energy market, financial regulation, the monarchy and university funding (as the White Paper clarified), then that statement simply doesn't hold.

There were also the usual sweeping statements we've come to associate with Scottish Government publications over the past couple of years. "Under the Westminster system", it stated, "Scotland is treated as a regional economy within the UK." Really?

Do the regions of England have parliaments, Cabinet ministers, devolved tax-raising powers, grants, control of planning and so on? That argument might have worked in 1983, but not 30 years later.

Also, the "UK economic model is…vulnerable to instability"; well, fine, but given the SNP's alternative - as outlined in the White Paper - is also rooted in neoliberal orthodoxy, would the economy of an independent Scotland really be any different?

"The pound is Scotland's currency just as much as it is the rest of the UK's," proclaimed Nicola Sturgeon, a logic she conveniently didn't apply to either North Sea oil or Trident. A la carte independence is alive and well in the White Paper.

The economic portions of the document appeared particularly flimsy, premised on the usual diet of tax cuts and never-ending growth, as if an independent Scotland would somehow perfect the economic alchemy so many other nations have attempted over the past few decades.

Paragraphs detailing Scotland's economic performance relative to the UK only reached back to the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Why not 1945, the 19th century or, logically, 1707? A longer timescale, of course, would not have produced the desired answer.

There were, inevitably, some new announcements thrown into the mix, although one could hear the sound of a policy barrel being scraped.

Ending the married couples tax allowance and abolishing the "shares for rights" scheme were both well and good but pretty small beer in economic terms. There was almost a sense that the Scottish Government had little new to pull out of its hat.

Thus, Scotland's Future essentially amounted to 670 glossy pages of stuff we already new. It did not demonstrably add to the sum of referendum knowledge, nor did it uplift, elevate or inspire.

It also failed to clarify any of the contentious areas - particularly the proposed currency union - that Unionists have been banging on about since 2011. Yesterday's press conference gave rise to the usual questions and all the usual answers.

Ms Sturgeon spoke of Scotland's "seamless" transition to independent membership of the European Union, a curious throwback to her previous claim of automaticity.

As one observer pointed out, the document contained very few ifs or buts, minimal cons to balance out its extensive pros. "No-one is suggesting an independent Scotland would not face challenges," it conceded early on. "We would be unique if that was not the case."

But thereafter one is bombarded with the best of all possible worlds: "Yes" will win a majority, the negotiations will go swimmingly and, in the longer term, the SNP will govern in perpetuity without making any mistakes.

For mistakes, you'll understand, are the sole preserve of the Westminster system. It looked great though, a little like an Argos catalogue in terms of format and thickness, almost as if voters could shop for the answers to their questions.

Photographs of beautiful people and Guardian-style graphics broke up the text in a pleasing fashion.

It was, as the Deputy First Minister said, "reader friendly and accessible", although anyone trying to access it online yesterday would have encountered an error message warning of a "corrupted" document. There was a lot of padding; even the executive summary was rather repetitive.

The launch itself was low-key but, on reflection, perhaps deliberately so. It kicked off with a short film about the splendour of Scotland that owed more to VisitScotland than the Scottish Government, then the First Minister appeared, wearing a party logo rather than Government Saltire on his lapel, and his deputy, looking stylish in her black Harris Tweed jacket and cuffs of Ayrshire silk.

Half a dozen stony-faced civil servants and an equally po-faced Scottish Cabinet looked on as Mr Salmond repeatedly emphasised the document's "common-sense approach" or "objective position" on some issue or other.

Ms Sturgeon seemed more on top of things than the First Minister, often whispering points in his ear that were then effortlessly regurgitated as his own.

At points he burbled a little, but his countenance was also open, and even charming.

But the earth didn't move. Perhaps it was always expecting too much for the White Paper to suddenly produce compelling new arguments for independence after nearly 80 years of trying, or come up with eye-catching new policies after more than six years of the SNP being in Government.

Instead it turned out to be what I always suspected it would be, a relatively competent amalgamation of already extant Scottish Government papers, statements, debating points and aspirations.

As he departed, the SNP leader looked relatively content, deploying Glaswegian parlance in judging that he and Nicola had "had a fair kick of the ball". He also spoke of the document's vision and his belief that a positive case would always trump a negative one.

But, as the former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt remarked, politicians with visions ought to go and see an optician. In reality, a positive case isn't necessarily a sound one, and nor is a detailed argument necessarily desirable.