I didn't see tonight's edition of Newsnight Scotland, but if this article on the BBC website gives an accurate sense of what Alex Salmond said, I must say it strikes me as another troubling example of the SNP putting, if not all their eggs in one basket, then certainly a few too many of them. There's simply no need to act as if only the party that wins the most seats in May has the automatic right to rule. And contrary to the mythology that's grown up about the last election, the SNP didn't actually go down that road in 2007 - at least, not until it was clear that they had one more seat than Labour. Remember Salmond's speech at the Gordon declaration? Reading between the lines, he seemed at that point to be working on the assumption that not only would Labour emerge as the largest party in terms of seats, but would perhaps even sneak the popular vote on the constituency ballot as well. And yet he was still confidently pressing the case for an SNP-led progressive alliance. It was a PR election, after all.
Of course, the primary aim has to be a clear-cut win, but if the SNP were to fall, say, just one or two seats short of Labour's tally, wouldn't it be somewhat frustrating if they had tied themselves up in knots with too many pre-election pronouncements about what constitutes victory and defeat? It may seem improbable that "Two Hoots Tavish" would negotiate seriously with the SNP in that scenario, but as we learnt last May, all sorts of funny and unexpected things can happen in the aftermath of a tight election. Let's give them the maximum opportunity to happen in Scotland's best interests.