IT’S not quite a storm lifting, but maybe it’s a break in the weather. And you know what they say: make hay while the sun shines.

It appears the understandable backlash against the SNP - in the wake of Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation, the resulting crazy leadership contest, and then the highly-damaging police investigation - may be abating.

Of those "Big Three", it was the leadership election which caused the most damage. Progressive voters who flocked to the SNP post-referendum under Ms Sturgeon’s leadership were appalled at the sights they saw within the party. It seemed that behind the Sturgeon-Yousaf contingent lay an unsettling mess of populists and social conservatives.

Scotland’s polling expert Professor John Curtice came broadly to the same conclusion.

Humza Yousaf took power amid thunderstorms with lightning surrounding the SNP. With a majority of the Scottish press bitterly - perhaps obsessively - opposed to the party, it was open season. There was nothing Ms Yousaf could do right. Strangely, the image fashioned of him was half folk-devil, half village idiot. Evidently, you can’t be both.

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But let’s be straight: the SNP deserved its kicking. The leadership contest was a cluster-fubar of the highest order. Scandal stalked the party, and the general perception among the public has been that every piece of legislation it tried to get through parliament turned to ashes, like Dracula sunbathing.

However, there’s a crack in the clouds appearing. Though in true SNP fashion, the party cannot - or will not - take advantage of the change in conditions. If there’s one matter at which the SNP excels, it’s self-harm, either intentionally through the damage done by endless in-fighting, or accidentally with the party too blinkered to see the wood for the trees, as appears to be the case currently.

Here’s the irony: for a party that’s had the daylights beaten out of it, the SNP is doing pretty well in polling; likewise independence. However, rather than exploiting the fact that negative polling has calmed, the party adopts an alienating position, navel-gazing and looking inward not out. Perhaps it’s understandable. Whipped dogs must lick their wounds and all that. But this is politics. When events swing your way, only fools fail to act.

First let’s look at recent polling, before exploring the SNP’s failure to capitalise on public opinion. At Westminster, the SNP and Labour are tied on 35%. That’s not great for Mr Yousaf, but if you believed the anti-SNP commentariat, the party should be in the negatives. And shouldn’t Labour, supposedly in the ascendancy, be easily wiping the floor with the SNP?

So at a General Election, numbers aren’t joyous, but they aren’t terrible. However, it’s votes in Scotland which really matter.

It’s here we see how Scottish voters are really rather sophisticated. The Scottish electorate is easily separating out the issue of giving Labour a vote to get Conservatives out at Westminster, from broadly continuing to support the SNP at Holyrood.

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Once the numbers are crunched for the Scottish Parliament, an SNP-Green majority is sustained. The seat estimates are: SNP on 55 seats - down nine; Labour on 35 - up 13; Conservatives on 16 - down 15; LibDems on eight - up four; and Greens on 15 seats - up seven.

The Greens had an even harder time in the press than the SNP. So if figures are right, it’s quite the result. Attacks on the Greens seem not just to have failed but to have backfired. Amid climate catastrophe, many who perhaps hadn’t heard much of the Greens absorbed their message despite negative headlines and liked the sound of it.

Currently, the SNP and Greens have 71 Holyrood seats. Latest predicted figures give them 70. So, yes, it’s a dip, but really, after being in power since 2007, it’s negligible to say the least.

Evidently, polls can be wrong, and the big caveat is: we’re far away from the next Holyrood election, so plenty of time for SNP fortunes to collapse.

However, so far what we see is that Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour offer isn’t cutting through sufficiently in Scotland. Wooing Red Wall English voters isn’t appealing to Scots. Nor does it help that under Sir Keir, Anas Sarwar seems to symbolise that deadly slur: Scottish branch manager of an English party.

And yet (with the SNP, there’s always an "and yet"), the SNP is failing to carpe the old diem. The party is currently embarked upon possibly the most alienating and useless pursuit imaginable. It’s readying itself for a new "indyref policy". This time it seems the party will claim that if it gets a majority of Scottish seats at the next UK General Election then that’s enough to open independence negotiations with London.

It’s absurd. First, the SNP might not win a majority so will look bloody silly; secondly, no UK government will take such an offer seriously. It’s a mighty comedown even from Sturgeon’s de facto referendum involving a majority of votes.

But worse: this is pure process. The public doesn’t care about process. It seems the SNP is now a fearful, cowed party that’s more comfortable speaking to itself, than potential voters.

What Mr Yousaf should be doing is inspiring voters with a 1000-watt vision of independence. Talk up how independence can change Scotland; position that vision against the image of Broken Britain now seen daily.

Evidently, the party has to answer hard questions around currency and borders first. So get those problems dealt with, then fire up optimism.

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Debates about process are listened to by nobody but folk who already back independence. The party must woo undecideds, and the only way to woo them is through vision and passion.

The process of getting another referendum is actually dependent on the "vision-thing": if the party can build independence support to a steady 55%+, that’s how Mr Yousaf get Indyref2. No UK government could look at sustained majority polling for Yes and refuse another vote.

The problem is, though, we’re talking about the SNP. Not only is it a party which thinks it always knows best, it’s also a party almost genetically predisposed to make the wrong call. So don’t expect nationalists to take advantage of the change in the weather. They’ll wait for howling monsoons to return before realising the sun was once shining.