Edinburgh newspaper The Scotsman in a headline article on 17 April 2015 by John Curtice titled "Nicola Sturgeon again the star" indicates clearly just who it judged was, North of the Border, the clear winner in the BBC's General Election 2015 Challengers' Debate.

Glasgow's The Herald concurred, with a front page photo of the Scottish Lorelei trying to pull Labour leader and Prime Minister hopeful Ed Miliband, on to the rocks of a Scottish National Party (SNP) – Labour, informal pact (anything like a formal coalition being ruled out by both sides).

"Miliband snubs Sturgeon's offer to lock out the Tories", reads the paper's headline.

SkyNews on the morning of 17 April showed Ms Sturgeon make a triumphant visit to her home town, Irvine, in the company of her mother Joan, who is the Provost (Mayor) of North Ayrshire.

Admittedly, it wasn't the whole town but a rousing enough welcome from a hundred or so jubilant well-wishers outside the SNP's shop-cum-office on Irvine's High Street which the camera panned in a suitably confidence inspiring manner. Scotland's First Minister told her supporters:

"...We've got three weeks now to make Scotland's voice heard, to make sure at the next House of Commons that Scotland's interests are protected and that we've got MPs that are fighting Scotland's corner.

"My message today is very simple: a vote for the SNP on May 7<sup>th gets Scotland's voice heard but also allows us to be a force for more progressive politics."

Later, Ms Sturgeon spoke to Sky News saying that Mr Miliband needed "to be more than just a pale imitation of David Cameron". This last comment was a repeat of her "Tory Lite" barb, a criticism she made during a TV Debate of his agreeing with the Conservatives and the Prime Minister on the need to cut government spending by at least £30 billion.

Ms Sturgeon again pressed home the point to Sky News that if there was an anti-Tory majority after the General Election and Mr Miliband was "prepared to stand back and let him (Mr Cameron) back in...Labour voters in Scotland will never forgive him", adding for good measure "...and I suspect Labour voters across the UK would never forgive him."

Welcome to the new realpolitik in the United Kingdom (population 64.5 million) and the way that democracy has so badly fragmented that a party, the very raison d'être of which is to destroy the Union and, which represents about 2.4 million, would make Mr Miliband Prime Minister on their terms.

That 2.4 million equals 45 per cent of Scotland's population, the same percentage achieved by those voting for independence in a Referendum held on 18 September 2014.

The following week on 23 September, Mr Miliband told the Labour Conference in Manchester that politicians had "a responsibility to try and explain why 45 per cent of voters in Scotland backed independence". The UK "nearly broke up" he said, and that people voting in the Referendum "wanted to improve their lives".

The BBC's report continued, telling us how the Labour Leader informed the audience that the idea of working together "won the Referendum", adding:

"Together we can build a better future."

I don't know how Labour Party MPs and delegates from Scotland reacted to this part of Mr Miliband's speech but it sounded to me on viewing it on a news broadcast at the time, and even more so now, that Mr Miliband was very much out of touch with the reality in Scotland.

This might well explain the predicament Mr Miliband finds himself in if the opinion polls in Scotland prove to be anywhere near accurate (within the usual parameters for error) as well as the somewhat desperate situation facing his Scottish Labour Party leader, Jim Murphy.

Since the UK General Election of 1964, the number of Scotland's Labour MPs has not fallen below 40 seats out of 59 Scottish constituencies. This is a "bloc" that for a couple of generations now has really been taken so much for granted.

The perceived wisdom until very recently, even beyond the 2014 Independence Referendum, has been that Scotland might well vote an SNP majority to Edinburgh's Holyrood Parliament but that the Labour section of the SNP vote would always "return to the fold" for the UK, Westminster General Elections, the "real" Parliament.

Scotland's population being such a small proportion of the UK total, it is quite possibly the case that the SNP voters' intentions slips below the radar somewhat. Looking at a paper tonight, I see Labour and Conservative neck and neck, United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) third and Liberal Democrats fourth. At the tail is the polling intention of "Others". Probably the SNP make up the majority of "Others" and it might have been more useful to their opponents if the SNP total had been given separately.

The horrible news buried in that tail end is slightly more than the "Yes" for Independence vote achieved in last year's Referendum. At 46 per cent, it has held steady throughout the TV Debates, defying all logic after the Scottish Parliament passed yet another mind-boggling £12 billion deficit (better than the previous year's) – which was not really attacked.

Wow, thank goodness that 55 per cent of Scotland, or now 54 per cent, said "No" and we can bank on them on polling day.

Just a thought. The Referendum was either/or, really how democracy is meant to run, a binary system like that greatest of all the democracies, the United States. Seventh May 2015 won't be like that and in Scotland there will be the four large UK parties and others on virtually every ballot paper. Plus, that very big one with 46 per cent!

Does this really make Ms Sturgeon a "Kingmaker". Not in the sense of Richard Neville, 16<sup>th Earl of Warwick, the Kingmaker. He had a lot of choices. Ms Sturgeon has given herself but one contender and he isn't playing - for her price is too high.

Just as Ms Sturgeon knew she had to demand Full Scottish Fiscal Autonomy at the earliest opportunity, Mr Miliband knows that as soon as she judged her tally to reach 51 per cent in Scotland, the breakup of the United Kingdom would be inevitable – the lady's quite as ruthless as Mr Neville.