An utterly bizarre little rant from Iain Dale a few hours ago, declaring that he is "sick of listening" to Alex Salmond's "bleatings" about how much he wants a balanced parliament, and suggesting that the SNP's "real agenda" is extracting more cash from the hard-pressed English taxpayer (yawn). The obvious irony here is that Dale's post has far more of the character of a bleating about it than anything Salmond has said, because what the Tory blogger is essentially complaining about is the SNP simply doing the following - a) seeking an election result that will maximise its power and influence, and b) seeking to use any such power and influence to further its own priorities, and the priorities of its voters. You know, Iain, like the Conservative party's top priority is inheritance tax cuts for millionaires, because those just happen to be the type of people who vote Tory. (And I presume it goes without saying that Dale would not deem it 'tiresome' for the Tories to be seeking power and influence in this election.)
This idea that seeking the best possible deal for the people who elect them is somehow a minus point for the SNP is rather reminiscent of George Foulkes' legendary objection "but they're doing it deliberately!". As it happens, though, most of the SNP's top demands in a balanced parliament would be just as good for the whole UK as they would be for Scotland - most notably proportional representation for the House of Commons, an elected upper chamber, the total scrapping of the UK's nuclear arsenal, and a proper high-speed rail network.