The SNP has enjoyed strong support over the past few years from two specific groups – the young and the male. Poll after poll has shown that the SNP, or quite possibly Alex Salmond in particular, has a woman problem and, possibly due to the ambition of independence, an elderly problem, problems that require to be dealt with if a Yes result is to be achieved in 2014.

We have seen a Mothers’ Day assault from the Nationalists with (*cough*) Joan McAlpine spearheading the attack. While it is sad that the provision of 600 hours nursery care is boxed into ‘female issue’ rather than ‘parent issue’, particularly when the SNP boasts of being a progressive beacon, the policy is nonetheless attractive and will go a long way to improving the party’s appeal to all Scots, including females. Similarly, a National Minimum Wage guarantee is something of a female-friendly policy by dint of such a high proportion of part-time work being taken by women. There are doubtlessly more female-friendly, recently concocted policies that an SNP activist could rhyme off on a whim.

So that’s the laydeez taken care of, what about the oldies? Well, this was always going to be a tougher challenge for Alex Salmond. How do you tempt a tranche of Scots away from the union and into a modern, fast-paced, export-driven independent Scotland when they are largely decided on the United Kingdom and/or stuck/set in their ways?

Well, perhaps George Osborne has given Salmond a helping hand there.

First things first, ‘granny tax’ is a horrendous phrase. It wilfully talks down those silver-permed, hair-netted, shed-dwelling dearies, but it is nonetheless effective, as today’s front pages testify, castigating the Chancellor for his tax cut on the elderly to pay for millionaires’ tax cuts as they do. Britain woke up today to learn, rightly or wrongly, that Osborne has shafted old people with his budget.

The First Minister’s tactics for winning independence often involve a well-rehearsed double whammy of making his party as ‘big tent’ as possible while fiercely attacking Westminster over anything and everything when they leave themselves vulnerable. He can employ both aspects over the next few months by rolling out a ‘granny friendly’ (I do apologise for how un-PC this post is) set of policies that will help to paint Osborne (and by extension the UK) as a place where the elderly are taxed to give the super-rich pay cuts while Scotland is a place where, I don’t know, free care for the elderly is guaranteed, bus passes are safeguarded and A.N.Other policy (I personally believe there is a role for the retired in schools, hospitals and colleges to provide expertise and experience on a voluntary or low paid basis; a sort of army of Non Exec Directors for the public sector and the young. It would work better if pensions were significantly more comfortable than they currently are of course).

Whatever policy Salmond may choose to entice the aggrieved victims of Osborne’s tax grab with, the First Minister may find that his independence deficit has ironically been filled in by the Chancellor trying to plug the UK deficit while keeping his right wing chums happy.