People of Alloa not wowed by Alex Salmond's independence plans

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It was raining in Alloa today. A light drizzle, as it often does here. But through the gloom, a picture was emerging of brighter days ahead.

Alex Salmond wants all of Scotland to buy into his vision of independence: "A more democratic, more prosperous, fairer society," he says.

If he does achieve his dream, he'll have won it through hard work in places like this.

Alloa and its surroundings are a microcosm of Scotland. It's traditionally Labour country but the last Holyrood election the constituency (like all of Scotland) fell to the SNP.

It has agriculture and industry, wealth and serious poverty. And it has a large number of voters still undecided on the issue of independence.

Of course voting for an SNP government at an election doesn't equate to voting for independence at a referendum.

That's a far more serious proposition with consequences that stretch on forever. Once broken, the union would be extremely difficult to fix.

So Mr Salmond and his colleagues in the "yes" camp have to convince a sceptical public that it's worth the risk.

His two central planks are money and social democracy. The rich will prosper and the poor will be offered opportunity, he says.

It's a nice thought, certainly. And if anyone can sell the vision, Mr Salmond can.

This, after all, is a man who still enjoys booming approval ratings despite his six years in power. By this stage prime ministers (or first ministers in his case) are normally panned at the polls. Scotland, by and large, still loves "Big Eck".

But if he's to take this affair to the next level, he'll need some pretty smooth talking. And the people I spoke to in Alloa today weren't altogether receptive.

Sisters Lizzie and Katie Hunter say the Westminster Government's bedroom tax has blighted their lives.

In an independent Scotland, we're promised, it'll be scrapped.

"Good news and a good start," say the sisters, "but give us jobs, let us earn money, then you'll really have out attention."

This young mother suggested childcare help could persuade her to vote yes. Credit: ITV News

I spoke to young mothers on the High Street. Another constituency the Yes campaign will have to try hard to win over.

Pollsters tell us women, and young women in particular, are more risk-averse than men. They'd be less happy for Scotland to go it alone.

Mr Salmond's sweetener to them is childcare. Lots of it. By the end of the second parliament every child over one year old would be entitled to 1140 hours of care per year (the same hours as primary school), "great" said some pram pushing mothers, "believe it when I see it", grumbled others.

I plodded on to the town's bingo hall. The afternoon session had just begun. It's a serious business, bingo and it attracts a pretty constant demographic.

Virtually everyone in the hall was female and over 60. They were, with very few exceptions, formidable.

Over the years these ladies have watched Alex Salmond sweep from the wings of political theatre to occupy centre stage.

Not all are impressed. He'll have a job on his hands to win them over and the £1.10 he offered on top of the current pension wasn't cutting it with many of them today.

What was missing on my visit to Alloa was a "wow" factor. Nobody I spoke to told me the white paper had bowled them over or even changed their minds.

If he is to realise his dream, Mr Salmond will have to find something more, some political magic; a rabbit from a hat.

And he'll have to convince the people of Alloa and communities like it right across this country that it's more than just an illusion.