Poll boost

It's no surprise to see both the SNP and the Lib Dems falling in the latest poll as their cuts start to bite, nor that the Tories remain relatively unscathed. Their voters are getting pretty much what they asked for, however much I may dislike their agenda.

But no-one elected a nationalist government to let Holyrood's tax powers lapse, or a supposedly centre-left party simply to hand on Tory cuts. The SNP were happy to be populist in the good times, but when Scotland needed Ministers to challenge Westminster and make tough decisions they simply folded.

The most extraordinary series of betrayals in modern politics, following Nick Clegg's decision to put the Tories into power, also makes it plausible that the Greens will overtake the Lib Dems by polling day.

There are still questions for Labour's campaign, too. They opposed the Budget, but refused to say what should have been done differently, and despite this poll they surely will have to do more than wait for Salmond to fall of his own accord.

The trend is clear, but the crucial question is not who becomes First Minister. Just as now, it matters most where the balance of power lies in Parliament. On present polling that means either one of the Westminster coalition parties or the Greens.

On the central issue, only Greens have a plan to protect public services by raising taxes on the better off and big business. We'll hold the line against tuition fees, and cut bills by insulating every home in Scotland for free.

If you want a Scotland that follows the coalition line, a second vote for either the Tories or their Lib Dem partners makes sense. But if you want a Parliament that stands up to the Tory agenda, not one that signs up to it, the Greens are the only alternative.