There is something crudely simplistic about Alex Salmond’s big announcement yesterday. You can sense the naked strategising behind the opening policy salvo in the Holyrood election campaign (with my personal image being an Apprentice style table, the FM as Lord Sugar and the Shadow Cabinet nervously pitching their ideas to the boss)

‘A holiday on St Andrew’s Day?’, ‘We’ve done that till we’re Saltire blue in the face’, ‘Bring back the rail link?’ ‘No chance!’, ‘Ok, Ive got it. The spiritual home of the Left, the biggest concern for voters and a nice big round number – let’s promise to spend £1bn extra on the NHS’, ‘Love it, you’re hired. Now, lunch…’.

Or something like that.

In the good old days (four years ago) the SNP wasn’t a party that just reacted to problems but sought to prevent them happening in the first place. Free School Meals, SFT and, recently, Minimum Pricing. Ideas that I’m sure will remain SNP policy and, arguably, the public and some Opposition parties have not yet caught up with.

Scotland won’t better itself with an army of doctors and nurses waiting in the wings for our inevitable sickness caused by poor diet, low exercise, increased smog and a penchant for booze, drugs and smoking. To be the party of the NHS these days is to risk being the party of profligacy.

Holding firm to the unpopular but ultimately correct course of action is frustrating with elections to be won, a media to satiate, a party to hold together and daunting poll results so has the SNP blinked already and opted for that old New Labour solution of throwing money at problems? Surely a confident Government would be promising to keep NHS costs down through presiding over a healthier populace, not boasting that costs are going to have match our lamentable standards?

There is of course the Scottish Greens who so often eschewed opposition for opposition’s sake and voted alongside the SNP for Minimum Pricing and Free School Meals while not being afraid to stand alone and fight for a Land Value Tax, an alternative to the Forth Bridge and better insulation for current housing stock. Perhaps it is because the Greens have less to lose but on current evidence they seem most likely to have the stomach and the belief to follow their principles through into May.

Set against two parties content with consoling its public rather than intent on leading it, the Greens look a good vote for a more robust Parliament.