"We need to move forward and build a better budget for Scotland. I recognise the situation we are now in. Obviously we'd like to make [the 2p] argument, but we want to be constructive about this - we are where we are now. The government have got to get a budget through in short order, but we can certainly make progress if we get round the table and have a real discussion about finding a way to make this budget respond to the challenges this country faces."
Here's hoping that diplomacy can find a solution to this impasse. Events of the last few weeks have shown that there may be a lack of trusting dialogue on that score. But there is still time before the current budget runs out to get a solution of the next fiscal year in place for Holyrood and to enable the councils to make their plans based on that outcome. Malc agrees that the time for consensus is now though I hope that Jeff is wrong and that the resultant budget is not cobbled together.
We need at this time discussions to have a budget that will help Scotland, if not to totally weather the storm ahead at least to be ready for when a fair wind blows again to get back on track as painlessly and effortlessly as possible. However, as Malc has live blogged about FMQs it would appear that Alex is still entrenching himself a little even after a hand of friendship has been offered.