When I took part in the recording of Derek Bateman's podcast the other day (you can listen to it HERE or HERE), one topic that came up was the monumental difficulty that Labour are going to face if they attempt to do a post-election U-turn on their previous insistence - for anti-SNP tactical reasons - that "the largest party gets to form a government". There's no longer any real doubt that they're contemplating that U-turn, because a number of London journalists have been briefed that Labour will attempt to take power even if they fall slightly short of being the largest party.
I've been trying very hard to imagine what a plausible excuse for the change of heart might look like, but it's a real struggle. You have to bear in mind that the right-wing press in London will be indignantly parading a long series of unambiguous quotes from Jim Murphy and the Scottish campaign literature, so whatever retort Labour come up with, it's going to have to be good. So far, my suggestions are somewhat less than good -
1) Yes, we said that, but we said it a few months ago. Back then, no-one could possibly have anticipated the crisis that we'd be facing now. We all have a responsibility in the national interest to ensure that a stable government is now formed. It is our judgement that the Tories have no prospect of forming a stable government, and surely none of us wants to see the uncertainty of a second general election.
2) Yes, we said that, but we said it a few months ago. Back then, no-one could possibly have anticipated how clear Nicola Sturgeon would be that she intended to put Ed Miliband in office. The reality is that SNP voters were in no doubt that they were giving a mandate for a government led by Ed Miliband. The Miliband bloc in parliament therefore clearly outnumbers the Cameron bloc.
3) We always made clear that it was merely fantastically improbable that the second-largest party could form a government, because it hasn't happened since 1924. It's a miracle! It's happening again!
4) Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes, don't look around my eyes, look into my eyes, you're under. When you wake up, you will under NO CIRCUMSTANCES recall that we've spent this entire campaign telling Scottish voters that the largest single party gets to form a government.
Feel free to add any other possibilities you can think of.