A while back, in one of my previous attempts to remember how to blog, I wrote that while the question on the ballot paper is “Should Scotland be an independent country?” the question that we should actually be interested in answering is “Does this increase the range of political freedom that we have?”

That’s still the underlying one for me and, I think, for the vast majority of people who aren’t convinced that independence is a good end in and of itself. On Tuesday the SNP will publish the much vaunted White Paper on independence which purports to set out what an independent Scotland would look like. Quite over what time scale isn’t clear, the section on welfare will probably be particularly interesting from that perspective, but it’s certainly being positioned as a roadmap for where we will end up in the event of a Yes vote.

One interesting part of this process has been the degree to which independence-lite has been sold to the faithful with the minimum of fuss. Having pushed the republican, anti-NATO, sterling is a millstone vision of independence firmly to one side over the last two years the SNP leadership is now able to produce a vision which would leave us firmly bound to the rUK for decades to come with nary a whimper from within and the non-SNP Yes campaigners being told to toe the line at the Radical Independence Conference in Glasgow by Dennis Canavan this weekend.

Interestingly the SNP leadership are claiming that not only does the White Paper set out proposals for them to follow but that it also binds the UK government in negotiations over the currency which is obviously ludicrous. It does politically bind the Scottish Government to negotiate for certain terms as they wrote it and we’d have voted to empower them to do so. Without involving the UK government in drafting it or putting it to a UK-wide vote the latter assertion is patent nonsense but it does illustrate that the people who would be conducting our side of the negotiations think that it is the White Paper which is being given the mandate.

What is set out in the white paper is the deal on the table, at least from the Scots perspective, for the next few decades. A few major areas would require negotiation, such as the mechanics of the increasingly unlikely looking “Sterling-zone” (the balance of payments argument doesn’t really work since a Sterling-dollarised Scotland would still contribute the benefits of it’s use as a trade currency without the risks for rUK associated with a full currency union, but that’s an argument for later in the week), but the constitutional framework the White Paper sets out with it’s retention of the monarchy, a mandate to negotiate for a sterling zone, membership of NATO and other key pillars is one which will have recently been positively endorsed by millions of Scottish people. It won’t be up for renegotiation in 2016, 2020 or probably even in 2030.

This is what I’ve been arguing for some time – despite the pronouncements of the non-SNP part of Yes the referendum is essentially a vote on the concrete set of changes proposed in the white paper in the knowledge that we probably wouldn’t get everything on the wishlist in the resulting negotiations. In some ways the original referendum question from the SNPs first failed attempt in government was more explicit about the political realities following a Yes vote, tortured as it was by the questions over legislative competence.

The question I’ll be asking myself is “Does the likely outcome of negotiations for the goals of the White Paper increase Scotland’s political freedom?” but, then, I am rather tedious like that.