It is hardly a mass sprint for the exit. There is no band playing as the last lifeboat departs. Think scunnered football fans, defeat in sight, slipping away in search of an early bus home.

Or maybe, given the number of SNP MPs exiting the Commons at the next General Election (seven at the time of writing), a closer match is Disney’s dwarf chorus. “Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s home from work we go.”

At least Snow White’s companions worked in a diamond mine. It’s a tough gig, wielding pick axes. You can understand why Grumpy, Bashful and colleagues would want to quit.

But giving up being an MP, basic salary of £86,584, plus exes for office and staff, plus gilt-edged pension, plus status, plus London digs, plus travel, all with no formal qualifications required, and a job appraisal every five years on average? Why would anyone say farewell to all that?

The reasons given by the seven vary. Some cite health (Peter Grant) or time enough in the job (Stewart Hosie, Ian Blackford, Douglas Chapman, former party treasurer).

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John McNally, 72, wants to spend more time with his recently-retired wife. At the other end of the age range are Angela Crawley, 36, who has a young family, and Mhairi Black, 28, who finds Westminster a “toxic” place to work. “Just the entire design of the place and how it functions is just the opposite of everything that I find comfortable,” Ms Black told The News Agents podcast. She doubled down on this on Monday with an appearance on Lorraine (wot, no Loose Women?), telling her fellow Scot about the security precautions chez Black, including a bomb-proof letterbox.

I cannot claim to match Ms Black’s time at Westminister - nine years, assuming an election in 2024. I was there for six years, half of them as a reporter. As such, I can hand on heart say this to the SNP departees: “Are you having a laugh?”

I dare say they do miss their families, are sick of the travelling, or find the Palace of Westminster a lonely place to be. Many MPs have felt the same. Working away is hard; ask anyone on the rigs, or the dawn flight to Stansted.

As for epiphanies, my own happened one Christmas when I realised the only people left in Westminister were myself, a camera crew, Tony Blair, and his bored kids, dragged along to a TV interview because dad was too ambitious to turn anything down. Maybe this was not such a wonderful life after all, I concluded.

Until that point, however, I had been having a terrific time. It was long hours and lots of stress, but it was fun besides. I got to meet people I might otherwise have never encountered and had plenty of pinch-me experiences (Mandela speaking in Westminster Hall, Clinton cheerleading for New Labour, the Conservatives falling apart over and over).

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There were subsidised bars and restaurants, a library that was a bibliophile’s dream, complete with seriously clever researchers who knew about everything from early taxation to the modern Middle East by way of the car industry and devolution. Westminster was Disneyland for politics nerds and I will be forever grateful for the time I spent there. All this and a wage too.

Which brings us back to the departing SNP MPs. No doubt they have personal reasons for turning their back on one of the best jobs in public life, but let’s face it, there are plenty of political factors at play here. It is not inevitable that they will lose their seats at the next General Election, but the way things are going you would be a mug to bet on them returning to Westminster.

In such circumstances, it is better to signal your departure early. There are only so many other jammy jobs to go around, and the queues for Holyrood are growing longer by the day.

The Scottish Parliament is where the truly safe seats are now to be found. The high road to London is not the noblest, or only, prospect an ambitious Scottish politician sees. In that respect, devolution has been a stunning success, shifting focus and power away from Westminster to Holyrood.

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The departing MPs could take their chances at the next election but think of all those streets to be slogged. Every second household haranguing you about the ferries and NHS waiting lists. And what of the police investigation into SNP finances? Might it still be rumbling in the background, outcome unknown?

Time was when SNP candidates and their supporters would knock on any door and take whatever flak came their way. You don’t get to be the most successful force in Scottish politics by being a bunch of fearties. But that was when support for independence was heading towards the 50% zone. In the most recent YouGov poll it had slumped to 37%. The dream is still alive but it could do with a nice long holiday.

Meanwhile, the SNP person on the doorstep might also wonder why they are working so hard for a leader who cut and run to suit herself, only to be followed in the post by someone half of Scotland thinks is doing a poor job as First Minister. The exodus from Westminster is a vote of no confidence in the party’s leadership, there and at Holyrood.

Say you put all that to one side, stand again and win, what future awaits? The SNP won’t be the kingmakers of the past, and Labour has said no to another referendum. You would have to be preternaturally cheery to carry on in such circumstances, though there is still a lot to be said for the job, the satisfaction gained from helping constituents for one. MPs still matter.

To the seven SNPs who are going, and those yet to declare, all the best with your plans. First on Mhairi Black’s list is “just to breathe for a little while”, followed by enjoying time at home. “Then the world is my oyster.”

Just think: none of those quitting the fray will have to smile politely as old familiar faces return to take their places. There will be new bosses in charge, many of them just as insufferable as the old lot, but Westminster, Holyrood, the whole show of democracy, will go on regardless.