Just occasionally you come across a politician from another party who knows what he is doing. Sitting 300 miles away as I do, Alex Salmond seems to be one of them. He has managed to lead a minority government in the Scottish Parliament for nine months that has not collapsed under the weight of its own acrimony. Indeed, it spent the first few weeks taking all the popular decisions and gaining huge kudos.
Now it is crunch time with his budget and he has threatened to force a new election if he doesn't get it through. I have a sneaking suspicion that he would quite like such an election. Let's be clear, he would also quite like to win the budget vote.
But if he doesn't, would he really like to have to bring back a weakened budget and labour on knowing that the opposition parties have the taste of his blood?
A fresh election would allow him to cash in on the strong performance over the first nine months. He could quite accurately say that the other parties never gave him the chance to govern. He couldn't win an overall majority under the AMS system, but he could force one of the smaller parties to enter a formal coalition with him.