This article appears as part of the Unspun: Scottish Politics newsletter.

The SNP has gone stark raving mad. In one single day, the party had an MP defect to the Tories, another MP say that members should withdraw from Westminster, and a councillor caught up in a racism row, after calling a Sri Lankan-born politician a ‘new Scot’.

That all happened just yesterday. The party’s conference begins on Sunday. Nationalists could have been making hay over revelations this week that Anas Sarwar’s family company still doesn’t pay the real living wage. The SNP could have put the Scottish Labour leader in a headlock. He’s spoken of “a new deal for working people” where staff “have a real living wage”. 

But nope. The SNP decided to institute a circular firing squad, something the party appears to have a gift for these days.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the SNP is becoming almost as embarrassingly dysfunctional as the Conservatives. The main difference is that unlike Rishi Sunak, Humza Yousaf is staring in horror at what his rabble is up to, rather than driving the chaos like the Prime Minister. 

The damage the party is doing to itself, at the most vulnerable point in its history, is incalculable. The MP Lisa Cameron’s defection to the Tories on Thursday is astonishing. Let’s repeat that: to the Tories. Not to Alba, not to the Greens, not to the LibDems or Labour. But the Tories?!

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Cameron claimed she defected due to “toxic and bullying” treatment from colleagues. So, here’s the consequences of that little move. Aside from bringing utter joy to a Tory Party bereft of hope, Cameron’s defection tells one of two stories to the electorate: either there’s a lot of closet Tories in the SNP, or the party is so nasty that an MP had to flee to the original Nasty Party itself, the Conservatives. Evidently, maybe it’s both, maybe the party is full of Tartan Tories and it’s also a horrible place to work.

Also on Thursday, the SNP MP Douglas Chapman penned an opinion piece for The National newspaper headlined: ‘Stephen Flynn should consider withdrawing SNP MPs from Westminster’. Should he? Should he really? Is that actually such a great idea?

The Herald: Humza Yousaf

Well, I suppose it is, if you want every political rival and hostile newspaper to compare the SNP to Sinn Fein. It’s also not likely to bring smiles to the faces of voters at the ballot box during an omni-crisis. You can just hear millions of Scots saying, ‘aye, that’s a good plan, let’s have no representation at Westminster at a time when we can’t pay the bills, there’s wars across the world, and the climate is set to sink us all’.

It’s pure bloody nonsense. 

To complete Thursday’s hat-trick of calamitous cock-ups, news broke that an Aberdeen SNP councillor called Kairin van Sweeden had been accused of “racism” following an exchange with Labour opponent Deena Tissera who was born in Sri Lanka. 

Van Sweeden said this to the Labour councillor: “I realise as a New Scot, Councillor Tissera maybe doesn’t know about the mitigations the SNP government have had to put in over the years.” Tissera is a British citizen.

Gob-smacking. Van Sweeden has rightly “stepped back from … party membership”, and apologised.

Meanwhile, the SNP still puts independence before the issues which matter most to voters: the economy, the NHS and education. But worse, the party hasn’t even got a clue how to achieve independence or what independence means.

It’s a joke of a party. Although, the joke, clearly, is on us, as this is our government.

But their conference starts Sunday, so grab the popcorn and watch the chaos