The latest round of budget manoeuvring is seemingly already underway with the SNP firing an opening salvo towards London in a bid for the Treasury’s purse strings to be opened up a little bit more. With a belief that the UK coalition is cutting to deeply and too quickly and John Swinney afforded little flexibility in the block grant that he has available to spend, certainly this side of the Scotland Bill dawdling through Westminster right now, one can understand why the Scottish Government is keen to increase its spend. The key argument though appears to be something that is called ‘plan MacB’. I don’t know if this is a name given to the plan by the First Minister himself or a hackneyed branding by the media but, either way, it seems to involve recognition that Scotland’s economy and employment is currently outpacing the rest of the UK and that is largely down to the advanced capital spend in the current year’s budget.

Now, we can’t keep on continuing to spend tomorrow’s budgets today, that’s how we got into this mess after all, but there is certainly an argument for keeping the economy going while the volatility in the markets continues (and, despite my being on holiday, I did see that the FTSE has been battered down by 2% in this morning’s trading).

Now, forgive my basic understanding of ecnomoics but I understand that there are two opposite ends of the strategy spectrum. At one end is to spend less, hope the private sector fills the gap and save money in order to pay down the debt and/or deficit. At the other end, we could spend more and invest more in order to keep employment high, growth high and risk money that we don’t really have in order to bring in bigger tax receipts and keep the economy moving.

It’s fair to say that Scotland voted for the latter when they largely backed Labour in 2010 and they backed the latter again in 2011 when they largely backed the SNP. George Osborne and, by association, the Liberal Democrats have backed the former strategy which was working well for a while but has gone off the rails somewhat over 2011, whether you wish to blame snow and strikes or not.

Opposition politicians talk about the grudge and grievance of the Scottish Government’s positioning when they disagree with Westminster and I heard Alastair Carmichael make the tiresome soundbite ‘they’re not a Scottish Government, they’re a national embarrassment’ yesterday which is just nonsense really, just words. However, in this instance, it is surely the case that, despite limited powers, the SNP’s pointed deviation from London’s direction is to be welcomed and while there is something of a cross-your-fingers punt at play here with Salmond’s decision, a bet that backs jobs and economic stability and less cuts is surely the one to go for.

That said, I do still worry, a worry that I had before the election, that the SNP is regularly committing to spending money that doesn’t exist and when the flush is busted, London will get the blame but it will be Scots that suffer. It remains to be seen whether this will be the case in the years ahead but a narrative that involves spending more money rather than addressing the painful cuts that will probably need to be addressed at some point, while squaring off the SNP’s manifesto pledges, will be a difficult act.

However, at a broadbrush level, there is little doubt that Scotland has a preference for Salmond’s strategy rather than Osborne’s and I think it won’t be long, whether through convincing arguments, fiscal autonomy or A.N.Other, before the unfortunately entitled ‘Plan MacB’ is simply called Scotland’s ‘Plan A’.