LEADERS in power for too long slowly drift out of touch with the people they serve.

They think their own agenda is also the nation’s agenda when it is not. As their regime ages their circle of real advisers tends to shrink rather than expand. Groupthink sets in. Daft ideas emerge and are foolishly pursued.

The people of Scotland plainly think the key issues the UK and Scottish Governments should be working on are things like cost of living pressures, the NHS, social care and education. They also clearly want the two Governments to work together for the benefit of the country rather than the SNP Government constantly setting traps for and creating grievances with the UK Government. Having another referendum on leaving the UK is way down most people’s priorities.

Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP on the other hand think separating from the UK is the most important thing of all. Their justification for that obsession is presumably that if they could achieve it then the magic “levers of power” would be in their hands and they could fix everything.

Guy Stenhouse: An independent Scotland would be a Turkey

This proposition does not stand any scrutiny. The Scottish Government right now has the ability to make decisions on most things which impact the daily lives of people in Scotland. Outside the UK, Scotland would have less money to spend on public services unless there was a very large increase in taxation or the borrowing of very large sums of money – both of which are immensely stupid and self-defeating ideas even if they were possible.

This mindset led to Nicola Sturgeon proposing after the Supreme Court said (to nobody’s surprise) the Scottish Government did not have the power to hold a referendum, that the SNP would treat the next UK General Election as a de facto referendum.

Nicola and her wee team obviously thought they had developed a blinder of a policy, the smirk on her face as she announced it said as much.

Unfortunately everybody else, including many in her own party, could see it was a complete lemon.

What would the electorate think if, instead of proposing constructive policies to represent Scotland in the UK Parliament, all they were offered by the SNP was a single issue manifesto? Might they be insulted? They might indeed. What if the level of support specified by the SNP was achieved but the UK Government perfectly reasonably said that it was irrelevant and nothing changed? What if, worst of all, the SNP’s target was not achieved? Game over, forever.

Guy Stenhouse: It's time to ease off on the Scottish Government's distortion machine

Such has been the horror within the SNP at the stupidity of the de facto referendum idea that the very very special conference they have planned for March to decide what to do next is now to choose between the policy Nicola announced and a new one. A lemon cannot be called a lemon if Nicola is behind it, instead it must be marched quietly towards the door under the cover of a choice.

And what a choice.

The alternative policy which the SNP have dreamt up in order to try to save their leader from humiliation is a double lemon.

The SNP plan B lemon is that if they do well at the next UK election (and you can bet that in their manifesto will be a demand the power to hold a further referendum on separation should be given permanently to the Scottish Parliament) and their demanded powers are not forthcoming, they will treat the next Scottish Parliamentary election as a de facto separation referendum instead.

This option makes no more sense than plan A.

Are Scots to be insulted by being offered only a one policy manifesto or is the referendum demand going to be just one of 100 other policies which means we are in the same position as we are today.

What if the SNP vote or number of MPs or MSPs goes backwards in either the UK or Scottish elections? – end of story.

Which of the votes in the Scottish Parliamentary elections would they focus on, the constituency vote which is for individuals or the regional vote which is for parties – surely it must be the latter but the problem with that is the SNP will be lucky to get a third of that vote and would have to count votes for the Greens and Alba to have any chance – but is such aggregation of other parties votes in any way reasonable? – not really. Why should a committed environmentalist who votes Green only because they want environmentally friendly policies have their vote taken by another party as a vote for a referendum – it makes no sense.

Guy Stenhouse: Scottish Government's job is to work for taxpayer – not union bosses

The truth is only a small portion of the electorate think holding another referendum should be the Scottish Government’s priority. The SNP Government should listen, stop dreaming up silly electoral scams and concentrate on the bread and butter issues their masters, us, want them to.