There's a view prevalent in some sections of the wider Yes movement that MI5 spooks have been active within the SNP for many years. It explains, they say, several unanswered questions still swirling around the downfall of Alex Salmond. It also underpins suspicions about the glacial progress towards independence in the Nicola Sturgeon/Humza Yousaf era.

Some have pinpointed a trip to Washington in 2016 made by several high-ranking SNP figures and prominent journalists: all of it paid for by the US Government. What’s not mentioned in this narrative is that such junkets are commonplace across Western Europe involving similar actors. They’re simply the means by which the US can make some connections which might prove useful down the line. They call it the Puppet Factory.

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Personally, I wouldn’t be anywhere near them, but then I’m far more likely to receive an invitation to the Scottish Greens’ Christmas paintball party than to be summoned to partake of the largesse of the American State Department. The theory that British spies have been operating within the SNP isn’t as far-fetched as some have insisted. It’s now known, largely through the research of Seamus Milne for his book The Enemy Within, that MI5 had successfully infiltrated the higher offices of the National Union of Mineworkers during the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike.

In the minds of some it also acts as a convenient explanation for the fact that the prospect of independence is now more or less finished in the current generation. Certainly, when you consider some of the abject failures and - let’s be kind here - eccentric choices made by Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf in filling senior cabinet posts you could be forgiven for thinking that some insidious, shape-shifting force has been at work.

M’Lord, I now cite Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie as Exhibits A and B in the prosecution bundle.

And why would any serious political party, claiming to be acting in the best interests of independence, devote so much time and energy to demolishing the reputations and character of Joanna Cherry and Kate Forbes, its two smartest, sharpest and most formidable advocates … while preferring a cast of political teletubbies over them?

And why did the leadership seem so keen to intimidate and marginalise those voices within the Yes movement who were advocating for a Plan "B" at a time when it might have held some leverage?

The belief that men can become women on a whim and that male rapists should be housed in women’s prisons has revealed the SNP to be a danger to the nation’s health. Meanwhile, it can’t run an effective ferry service in the Highlands and Islands and Nasa will have established a branch office on Mars before any new ferries will be completed.

If I was Director General of MI5 I’d have deployed exactly the same strategy: isolate those who might pose a threat to the Union; promote Ken Dodd and his Diddy Men; adopt policies with which the vast majority of Scots disagree and then gaslight them all by condemning them as knuckle-draggers. Job done.

The Herald: Margaret ThatcherMargaret Thatcher (Image: PA)

I’ve absolutely no doubt that MI5 will have been busy before and during the 2014 independence referendum. It would have been failing in its primary task if it hadn’t been. The SNP was beginning to pose a threat to the British state and its global prestige greater than anything since the beginning of the Second World War.

But I’ve equally no doubt that the concept of MI5 sleepers within the ranks of the SNP belongs in the realm of fantasy. As soon as it became clear sometime around 2011 that the SNP was offering rewarding career and remuneration prospects any British spooks would have been trampled in the stampede of third-rate, Tamany Hall grifters eager to jump aboard the gravy train. Why interrupt the enemy when it’s busy scoring own goals? They need only have glanced at the political gargoyles feeding from the SNP trough at Westminster. Nothing to fear. The coast is clear. Revert to DEFCON 5.

You begin to wonder though, if the assorted British intelligence agencies might instead have been beavering away inside the UK Labour Party. If so, then someone at The Circus is in line for a serious Christmas bonus.

I’ve long entertained the theory of a Harry Potter-style style sorting-hat being present at Oxford University’s Bullingdon Club or those other custard and suspenders associations beloved of the English aristocracy and their acolytes.

In this way and in order to maintain the chimera of social democracy some of the chaps will be tasked with making the supreme sacrifice by gaining favour in the Labour Party and rising to high office with the help of the Five Families who own the London press and the BBC’s editorial suite. Thus, they can keep an eye on any nefarious activity that might undermine the social order when the chips are down; the balloon goes up and the lights go out.

Read more: Humza Yousaf must ditch Greens and seek rapprochement with Alba

Every 15 years or so Labour must be permitted to win to allay any suspicions of foul play. The trick is to ensure that when we do allow them back in they are safe in the hands of someone who knows where the real money and power lie.

They can also provide early warning when things threaten to spin out of control, as happened momentarily after the elevation of Jeremy Corbyn which monetarily threatened a social apocalypse: undermining Nato, attacking the banking cartels and telling the truth about their puppets in the EU. Of course, they hadn’t reckoned with the late Queen Elizabeth becoming so enamoured with Harold Wilson’s couthy charm, else they’d have done the same to him.

The procession of Sir Keir Starmer into 10 Downing Street must have been beyond their dampest dreams of avarice. By Jove, this chap has taken it all to the next level. We don’t even need to maintain the pretence. The leader of the Labour Party is now openly saluting Margaret Thatcher. And just to complete the ermine revolution in the People’s Party he’s saying he won’t be turning on the spending taps.

The Conservatives can now take a long, well-earned breather from running the country, safe in the knowledge that it’s steady as she goes in the shires. And no-one needs to worry about the truculent Scots any more. The oil; the taxes and the soldiery will keep flowing in for a while yet.

Three cheers for Sir Keir and three cheers for Ms Sturgeon and Mr Yousaf. Isn’t life just grand? Brandies, anyone?