Stuart Campbell of Wings Over Scotland reacted impatiently to Nicola Sturgeon's statement this afternoon, pointing out that it failed to explain how the Scottish Government propose to actually overcome London's obstructionism on a Section 30 order. And I agree that in an ideal world, she would have said "we want a referendum to take place with a Section 30 order, but it will take place anyway" or " if a Section 30 order is not granted, we will use the Holyrood election to seek an outright mandate for independence". But given how negative some of the mood music has been, I think it's fair to say that Ms Sturgeon went about as far as we could have realistically hoped for today, and if I'm being honest she went a bit further than I expected. It's worth contrasting what she could have said if the narrative of certain journalists had been proved right, and what she actually did say.
* She could have simply said that because of the Brexit extension, she was waiting until at least October to make any decisions at all. Instead, she announced some substantive decisions today.
* She could have said that because of the uncertainty over Brexit, and "in the national interest", she was going to let the current mandate for a pre-2021 referendum expire and seek a fresh mandate at the next Holyrood election. She instead did the polar opposite of that, and declared her intention to hold a referendum before the 2021 election.
* She could have set out an aspiration for a pre-2021 referendum, but let the momentum fizzle out by taking no concrete steps to move us closer to that referendum being held. Instead, she announced legislation that will prepare the ground for a referendum even before a Section 30 order is sought.
* She could have done what Joyce McMillan suggested a few months ago, and declared that it would be wrong to seek an independence referendum for as long as we know the Tory government will refuse a Section 30 order. Instead, she left no room for doubt that a Section 30 order will be formally requested well before the 2021 election.
* She could have stated absolutely and unequivocally that Westminster permission is required for an independence referendum. If you read some journalists' paraphrasing of her statement, you'd be forgiven for thinking that's exactly what she did say. But she didn't. She instead used words to the effect that a Section 30 order would be needed to put the legal position beyond doubt, thus leaving the door slightly ajar - on paper at least - for action to be taken in the absence of a Section 30 order. It's blindingly obvious that she isn't remotely attracted to the idea of a consultative referendum, but at least she didn't needlessly rule it out.
So, all in all, I'm reasonably happy with the statement, and I think it leaves us in a better position today than we were in yesterday.