By the time you cast your eyes over this column the result of the Greek referendum ought to be clear.

If, as polls suggested last night, a majority have followed their Prime Minister's lead and voted No, then the Syriza government will embark on a fresh round of negotiations with the so-called "troika".

Where that leads given the obvious intransigence of that powerful trio is anyone's guess, although it seems likely to include further austerity. Voting for Syriza to form a government didn't stop the economic pain, and so a referendum seems unlikely to mark a step change.

Those on the Left - and indeed those on the Right - like taking sides in a debate such as this, for many of them take a Manichean view of such things, good versus evil, the "people" versus capitalism.

But taking sides in this context misses the point: Greece is in a mess because of former governments (reckless in their spending and borrowing) and to a degree the governed (complicit, unconsciously or otherwise, in everyday corruption), although that mess has arguably been made worse by the aforementioned "troika" and its simplistic belief that more austerity would do the trick.

The Greece tragedy has also served to highlight the usual contradictions in domestic Scottish politics. While Scottish/Greek analogies are generally risible, those on the Left and Right find them irresistible: the former in attempting to depict Scotland as part of a Europe-wide movement against austerity, and the latter in saying to Scots, look what you avoided by rejecting independence last September.

At the same time both have a point: since the referendum there has been a strong "anti-austerity" element to Scottish politics (though kinda hazy on, you know, boring stuff like numbers and specifics), while the situation in Greece is inextricably bound up with long-present weaknesses in the Eurozone. In short, monetary union all but requires fiscal union, which in turn necessitates political union.

Now, during the long referendum campaign former First Minister Alex Salmond went to great lengths to play down monetary policy as somehow unimportant, a mere formality when it came to "sovereignty" and fiscal flexibility. Unionists like Danny Alexander, meanwhile, said his proposed "currency union" would end up like the Eurozone; a tad hyperbolic, perhaps, but then he was less wrong than Mr Salmond.

And try telling Greece that monetary policy controlled from afar represents no challenge to its "independence". Indeed the situation in Athens, just as that in Dublin did a few years ago, amply demonstrates the considerable gap between rhetoric about "independence in Europe" and the political reality when the proverbial s*** hits the fan.

But when it comes to Greece, the SNP is reliably all over the place. On the one hand, being a self-consciously Europhile party, one might expect them to approve of the Eurozone's tough stance, while on the other, being "anti-austerity" (I consider the quotation marks necessary) and nationalists, you might expect them to be sympathetic to Syriza. Predictably, however, instead of occupying one position or the other, the SNP tries to hold both at once.

A few weeks ago the First Minister impressed a Brussels audience with an ostentatiously pro-European speech, indeed so enthusiastic was her declaration of faith in the European Union that her audience failed to notice the rest of the speech pretty much supported David Cameron's position on modifying freedom of movement and avoiding EU "interference" in certain domestic policy areas.

Pushed for a view on Greece early last week, however, the Scottish Government cautioned against "brinksmanship", an equivocal position that failed to satisfy those on the Scottish Left, who are so determined to believe the SNP is a Scottish Syriza that they ignore all the obvious contradictions: ie decidedly neoliberal taxation proposals. (Indeed, for a grouping so hypercritical of the Scottish Labour Party, they're also curiously tolerant of Syriza's far-right and Russian associations.)

This put Nicola Sturgeon in a difficult position, for having established herself as an "authentic" left-winger (unlike her all-things-to-all-men predecessor), she has to keep the Scottish Left on side, thus the First Minister obliged with a sudden hardening in her position, penning a comment piece for the Guardian in which she chastised the "troika" and suggested debt relief ought to be on the table. Suddenly the EU wasn't so virtuous after all.

On one level this was a shrewd move, for shortly after Ms Sturgeon's intervention (though of course the view of a devolved European government will not have sent shockwaves through the Continent) the IMF also backed debt relief - for which there are good arguments - but more troubling was the fact that this view came out of nowhere; indeed the article seemed contrived to make a narrow political point (don't scaremonger!).

And as usual, the broader analysis was astonishingly thin. Yesterday Finance Secretary John Swinney added his two cents with the more hawkish assertion that Greece "can't simply be allowed to walk away from its obligations to creditors", although happily he too supported "some sort of debt relief". Furthermore, a reform programme prioritising "growth and competitiveness" would be the best outcome for both Greece and the Eurozone.

It sounded like a line from one of the Scottish Government's equally woolly economic strategy documents, with magic growth beans and tax "incentives" (ie cuts) considered a panacea for all economic ills. But again, Mr Swinney's commentary was intended to make a political point: austerity both at home and abroad doesn't work.

As I've argued in this column before, there are good arguments against austerity economics, it's just the SNP rarely makes them, instead luxuriating in the fantasy that the alternative - as with independence - won't involve anyone losing out.

SNP logic is also baffling. Faced with two failing banks headquartered in Scotland, the UK Government bailed them out and although it proceeded to cut spending, successive administrations ensured the Scottish Government got a proportionately lower reduction than most other Whitehall departments. The Scottish Government has presented this as proof that the British Union is unreformable, broken beyond repair.

Yet when the EU imposes austerity on Greece so crippling that its economy starts to collapse, causing hardship the Scottish middle classes wouldn't tolerate for longer than it took them to read the Guardian, the SNP treats it as an unfortunate mistake and urges the troika to come up with something a bit less punitive. The EU, they suggest at every turn, is capable of reform.

Recently I came across an interesting old quote from Mr Salmond, written in 1988 shortly after his party had finally embraced the European Union. "To win real converts the SNP and the Scottish left in general", he argued, "will require to be convinced that Europe post-1992 will not be an economic straightjacket with all major economic decisions predetermined and increasingly remote from those who take the consequences."

Prescient words, although a couple of weeks ago all he could muster was a glib phrase about stopping an "Athens crisis becoming a Greek tragedy" that will "envelop us all".

It's tempting to ask where this leaves the "independence in Europe" battlecry?