ED Balls's visit to Scotland was almost reminiscent of the referendum.

A senior Westminster politician visits Scotland and tells the SNP that there will be no negotiation, and that the SNP cannot get what they want.  He leaves.

Balls’s declaration that the SNP would have no influence in a coalition with the Labour Party was as much for voters in the Home Counties as it was for swinging voters in Scotland.  

The General Election is still two months away. Any talk of coalition negotiations at this point is still a little premature.

Maybe it’s because it’s our first ever fixed-term General Election, or maybe it’s because we currently have a coalition in Westminster, or maybe it’s because of last September’s referendum, but the electioneering and the punditry and analysis seems to have started earlier and seems to be near omnipresent.

Every poll tells us something different and each percentage point seems to make the wildest difference.

That’s why Labour tell us that a vote for the SNP equals a vote for the Conservatives, and the Tories have told us that a vote for the SNP is a vote for Labour.  

And now predictions from Electoral Calculus tell us that if we vote Labour, Scotland could end up with two or three Tory MPs.

If The National can give you one solid piece of advice, it is to vote for who you want. Vote how you want. Vote for the party you’d want to see in government or a coalition or for the candidate who you think would make the best constituency MP.

You should make up your own mind. Vote SNP, Green, socialist, Labour, or even Tory or Ukip (though if you are voting Ukip, maybe you should try another paper). You have two months to decide.

Police funding should not be dependent on value of drug seizures

IT is very worrying if, as Dr Iain McPhee from the University of West Scotland suggests, Police Scotland overestimating the value of drugs taken off the streets is why the force is facing a budget shortfall.

There are a number of issues with the Proceeds of Crime Act, but the principal of using money made from criminal activities for projects in communities affected by crime is undoubtedly a good one.

The principal of police relying on money made from assets retained is a little worrying, although we are not suggesting the system is quite as bad as it in states in America, where the notorious forfeiture laws allow police to take assets and then auction them off to the highest bidder, keeping the money for themselves. 

But at the heart of the matter is that it is surely not responsible for Police Scotland to base any part of their budget planning on money that is so risky.