THIS ought to have been a time of hope for the SNP government and those in the wider Scottish independence movement. Instead, where there ought to have been optimism and a renewed sense of purpose there is now doubt. Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, will continue to proclaim her leading role in sowing the seeds of uncertainty among the Yes movement but she is deluding herself if she seriously believes this to be the case. Her party’s success in securing 13 seats at the General Election has been built on fear and loathing of others.

 

There is a reason why she is desperate to avoid a second referendum on Scottish independence: her party, devoid of anything resembling a policy, has gorged itself on Scotland’s constitutional uncertainty. Once this has been settled one way or another she knows her party will retreat to the margins of Scottish public life.

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It’s astonishing that the SNP, which won a second successive (albeit reduced) overall majority in a UK election within three years, is still in hiding after the result. During the actual campaign the SNP danced to Ms Davidson’s single, grotesque tune and now in victory they have been cowed. In four successive national elections on either side of the Border (including the council votes) the SNP have gained huge margins of victory campaigning for a second referendum. Their justification for doing so was the threat of a hard Brexit to Scotland’s economy and the inhumanity of Theresa May’s implacable mission to punish the poor for the greed of the rich.

 

Downing Street is currently occupied by the most hapless Prime Minister in Britain’s history, the political equivalent of the walking dead. With every day that passes her chief opponent, Jeremy Corbyn, grows more statesmanlike and wise. The lies that were told about him before the election by the hard Right press and the insidious campaign to discredit him by Blairites in the Westminster Labour Party have evaporated. Mr Corbyn, not Mrs May, is now the de facto leader of the United Kingdom. This is a man who knows his time has come.

 

He has attained this status by refusing to compromise on values and policies which he knew to be morally right and which he knew would resonate with UK voters. He is everything that the current SNP isn’t: brave; sincere; visionary; clear-headed and possessing an ability to show leadership and good humour in the face of overwhelming adversity. In comparison the Scottish Government looks fearful; complacent; cautious and ambiguous. This is a party that is scared of its own shadow and as such it has become the weakest link in the movement for an independent Scotland.

 

It has retained power in Scotland over the last decade by posing as the party of fairness and equality in the face of the dastardly stratagems of Westminster’s reactionary elite. It was gifted 100,000 new members and more by the most incompetent executive the Labour Party in Scotland has ever had the misfortune to possess. The SNP has spent the last two years squandering them. Now they are returning to Labour in droves in the realisation the so-called Socialism of the SNP was a mirage. This party bangs on endlessly, like a drunkard in a phone box, about "standing up for Scotland" yet a pygmy in a ditch would outstretch them.

 

In its decade-long tenure pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds have found it more difficult to reach university. The yawning chasm which exists in attainment levels between schools in affluent neighbourhoods and those in poorer ones has never been reduced. Its commitment to the NHS is unquestionable but its craven attitude when confronted by the abject executive failure in our health service has been contemptible. “It’s worse in England,” they say like a child explaining a bad report card to his mum.

 

They couldn’t even help themselves to low-hanging fruit like the charitable status granted to private schools; radical land reform and procurement assistance to Scottish SMEs. Our judiciary is still a network of privilege and the old school tie and Police Scotland is still disfigured by poor leadership. During this time it was also revealed that almost a third of the party’s fabled 56 Westminster MPs had multiple homes. In Scotland only two types of people own more than one home: the very rich or an opportunistic few who seek to take advantage of this country’s lack of affordable housing. Guess which category these MPs fall into.

 

John Swinney’s long-awaited Education Governance Review unveiled on Thursday told you all you needed to know about this party. They spun it as the biggest shake-up in delivering education in Scotland since devolution: it was nothing of the sort. As usual with the SNP when faced with two options they chose the less radical one. Thus headteachers are being given control over teacher recruitment in their schools. So, how’s that going to work? Teachers and headteachers are still trying to work through the chaotic Curriculum for Excellence (a misnomer if ever there was one) and many are trying to cope with council cuts in school support staff. This added layer of administration will increase their burden. Parents would rather have seen school heads given the power to remove failing teachers.

 

In unveiling the governance review, Mr Swinney finally rejected proposals by the parents of St Joseph’s Catholic primary in Milngavie to save their 140-year-old primary school. In campaigning to keep it open they had offered the SNP a proposal which would have taken it out of local authority control and let it be run by a parents’ executive, but still within the state sector. It was fully costed and sought to maintain links to elderly and vulnerable members of the community through outreach initiatives.

 

Yet, after more than two years of being led up the garden path by Nicola Sturgeon and the Education Secretary, plus a veritable army of special advisers, the parents were told the school’s fate was sealed in a phone call by yet another civil servant. They had simply been played for political gain and so a small centre of educational excellence in Scottish and Catholic education faces an uphill struggle for survival.

 

This on the same day it was announced a wealthy funeral director whose personal abuse of the late-lamented Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy was an embarrassment is to become the new leader of the SNP’s Westminster group.

 

In the face of a chaotic and damaging Brexit conducted by the new Raving Loony Party, the case for an independent Scotland remains a strong one. The SNP though, have become its greatest liability.