Within the SNP there’s an inner circle of politicians and advisers whose entire existences had been dependent on their proximity to Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s former First Minister. The weeks since her curiously sudden resignation must seem as though the bottom has fallen out of their lives.

It’s only natural then that they’ll fasten on to anything signifying that the storm might be abating. For some, the passing of another week without the arrest of a high-ranking party functionary brings a ray of fresh hope. In the month or so since the party’s former chief executive, Peter Murrell, was questioned then released without charge by police an inventory of "items of interest" has emerged. They resemble the wares of a market trader in Glasgow’s Barrowlands.

The absence of anything too eye-watering in recent weeks doesn’t exactly portend that the coast is clear. it’s become evident though, that some of Ms Sturgeon’s loyalists are clinging on to fresh hope. There’s renewed optimism that it’s all been a misunderstanding and that Police Scotland has made a bit a bit of a horse’s fundament of itself.

This buoyancy was reflected in a remarkable article written last week by Murray Foote, the SNP’s former media chief. What if the police investigation into party finances is “a wild goose chase”, he asked? “It’s inconceivable the authorities would be so cavalier without slam-dunk evidence, right? Not necessarily. One word counters that assumption: Rangers.

“The legal costs over the wrongful pursuit of those involved in the administration and purchase of the Ibrox club are upwards of £ 50 million. So, the authorities have previous for high-profile inquiries collapsing in scandal.”

The obvious answer to Mr Foote’s touching belief in the triumph of the human spirit is also of the single-word variety: liquidation. There are others: relegation, humiliation, face-painter. Of all the analogies upon which you might draw to convey hope the fate of Rangers FC is perhaps the least appropriate.

Mr Foote even ventured to suggest that no police charges “would bring the SNP a silver lining to what has been a very dark and long-lasting cloud”.

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In a previous life, Mr Foote was a hard-nosed, cold-eyed and esteemed editor of the Daily Record. How refreshing to know that this hard shell concealed a cuddly and treacly centre brimming with belief in the essential goodness of humanity.

Mr Foote’s delusion that "no charges" signals optimism for the future of the SNP is shared by others who can’t quite believe that their Camelot was actually Salem’s Lot.

The truth though, is that the police investigation into alleged financial malfeasance within the SNP ought to be the very least of their concerns. It’s what has transpired elsewhere since Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation that has done most damage to this party.

Indeed, you might even venture to suggest that the police activity and the tents and the camper van have all acted as a distraction from the poison and the sewage that have been flowing beneath the SNP for several years now.

Read more: Even Scotland's political dramas are embarrassingly piddling

They have caused the SNP to become something rancid and little more than an accelerated job creation scheme for a cast of mediocre political opportunists. In this, the main requirements are cult-like loyalty shot through with a strain of malevolence to those considered to be disloyal or possessed by the capacity to think for themselves.

In the ruinous Sturgeon era they sucked all the optimism and sense of purpose from the Yes movement. In its place they built a secret society of untouchables driven by little more than a fanatical desire to maintain power  for its own sake. In doing so, they have rendered the prospect of an independent Scotland a remote one for the foreseeable future.

What has emerged in the detritus of the police inquiries is an organisation characterised by bullying, intimidation, lack of transparency or future planning and an absence of accountability. Their favourite means of self-preservation was to promote people of meagre ability and target those with proven expertise who began to challenge the bad actors.

The evidence of this can be seen in the absurdly stage-managed leadership contest and the excruciatingly embarrassing performances of members of the new Cabinet during exchanges at Holyrood.

These people have overseen the regression of Scotland to a state based on the immediate, post-war East German model. The right to free speech has slowly been eroded and, following last week’s cancellation of Joanna Cherry by The Stand Comedy Club, appears to be supported by the SNP’s knuckle-draggers wing. The 2 am knock at the door has been replaced by a friendly "chat" with two kindly police officers who have spent the last two days poring over your Twitter posts.

Much of this proceeds on the SNP’s new fourth wave of enlightenment: the cancellation of women to reinforce the whims of some men exhibiting incel tendencies. In this they’ve been favoured by the acquiescence of Scotland’s entire trade union leadership and the Labour Party. These organisations were founded to oppose inequality and give a voice to the voiceless; not to acquiesce in a mass act of political doping designed to distort statistical data on gaps in women’s welfare.

And then you look at the Scottish Government’s favourite lobbying groups and their client lists and the nexus of relationships that travel back and forth across Scotland’s highly lucrative and eternally rewarding civic terrain. The John Smith Centre at Glasgow University offering easy access to Scotland’s political gravy-train and the lobbying firm Charlotte Street Partners can be regarded as essential cogs in this machinery.

Read more: How the SNP took Scotland for a ride

Last week, Joanna Cherry voiced contempt for the cowards in the SNP who have remained silent as their party has been hollowed out by bad actors. Another cohort comprises the counterfeit radicals who pretend to be left-wing and who have inverted the meaning of "progressive".

They tweet incontinently about low-hanging, cuddly leftisms such as climate change, the royals, Elon Musk and Donald Trump. But they remain silent about the issues that invite us to be truly radical: addressing the causes of multi-deprivation and addiction which annually kill thousands of people in Scotland’s poorest neighbourhoods.

I hope for Scotland’s international reputation there are no charges to answer in the ongoing police investigation into SNP finances. Of much greater concern though, is that this party has used the Yes campaign to form a clown-state operating within and amongst the devolved structures of government. It will take many years to repair the damage they’ve done.