Am I alone in thinking that the Scottish Parliament election campaign has never really come to life? There has been plenty of coverage about who is gaining/losing ground in the polls, but little in the way of serious issues to dominate the headlines.
The SNP Government seems to be suffering less of a voter backlash than most for its time in office; but, uniquely, each of the main opposition parties has to campaign against the backdrop of its current or recent record in Government at Westminster, which - whoever you blame for the current difficult times - gives each of them an uphill task to present themselves in a favourable light.
Then again, as a minority administration the SNP has had to pull back on a number of its key policies for lack of parliamentary support, so in effect it has had to drop most of its more controversial proposals. That and the fact that the legislation that has been passed has required the support of one or more of the other parties, makes them less well placed to criticise these measures.
The Scottish experience of minority government makes an interesting contrast with the position at Westminster under the coalition. How would the course of government there have run if David Cameron had attempted to form a cabinet on his own? I suspect the Conservatives would have found life harder than the SNP has in Edinburgh; perhaps wishing to call a further election without being confident that they would gain from it. Only time will tell who will benefit from the coalition in the long run.
Consider, however, that with a slightly different distribution of votes in a small number of seats, we could now have found ourselves under a majority Tory Government with far short of a majority of the popular vote, due to the arbitrary nature of the first past the post system. Surely either coalition or a minority administration (perhaps irrespective of the party forming it) is preferable to a government claiming a mandate despite having 40% or less of the popular vote, as is all too easy at Westminster at present. For that reason the vote that really matters next week is the AV referendum. For myself, imperfect though the AV method is, I hope to see an end to such anti-democratic outcomes as the present system permits.