The Lib Dems have just turned down a deal with the SNP. It's the referendum. They're playing hard-ball on this issue. Fair enough. That's what coalition politics is about. The SNP are going to have to jettison some of their manifesto promises if they want to rule Scotland. So it looks like goodbye to the referendum and the local income tax then. I wouldn't take anyone's refusal at the moment to be the last word. It's merely the opening round of the game, entitled 64 vote pickup.
Here are the rules as far as I can work them out.
In this particular match there are six players - for the purposes of clarity, lets call them Mr Yellow, Mr Red, Mrs Blue, Mr Orange, Mr Green and Mrs White.
Each player has a set number of votes given to them by the electorate (those of them smart enough to read the ballot paper anyway).
There are 129 of these votes.
The object of the game is to get half of them, which is 64.
The remaining vote left over belongs to the referee or Presiding Officer, and is put to one side, but you don't want it put on your side.
Mr Yellow and Mr Red have to persuade all the other four players to play on their team.
Mrs Blue, Mr Orange, Mr Green and Mrs White all say they're not going to play on anybody's team, anytime soon, no-siree-bob.
(Actually Mr Green has still to say this, but I guess he's still a bit unsure of the rules)
Mr Yellow and Mr Red then have to carefully and strategically start discarding policies until the other players agree to join their team.
Whoever gets 64 votes after offloading the Presiding Officer card where it'll do the least damage is the winner!