The dilemma thrown up by this year's SNP depute leadership contest is the same one we faced in 2014 - do we simply vote for the candidate with the strongest personal qualities, or do we base our vote on the candidates' views on the constitution and strategy, even though such matters are ultimately for the leader and not the depute leader to decide upon? I suppose the logic for doing the latter is that the leader may regard this contest as a de facto consultation exercise, and will perhaps factor the outcome into her thinking.
I must say I've found the clarity of James Dornan's comments quite refreshing - ie. an independence referendum before the next Scottish election, possibly as early as next year, and a flat dismissal of the notion that the SNP's comfortable election win last June was somehow a rejection of a referendum. That's bang in line with my own thoughts, and I'd find it very hard to vote against such a prospectus.
By contrast, Pete Wishart's pitch is centred on the need to do something radical to court the minority of pro-indy and indy-curious voters who want to leave the European Union. Specifically that means an independent Scotland would not seek full EU membership straight away. I wouldn't dismiss that idea out of hand, because the problem of Leave voters jumping ship from Yes is a genuine one (if perhaps a little overstated). But I do worry about the danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Independence as a life-raft to save our place in Europe is an incredibly powerful argument, and my gut feeling is that we undermine it at our peril.
So in the trivial battle for my own vote, I think it's fair to say it's currently Dornan 1, Wishart 0. But I'm going to keep my mind firmly open as more ideas and candidates emerge.