If you want to understand what is going on in Scotland, where there appears to be an extraordinary backlash against an SNP elite that only a few months ago was strutting around convinced a second independence referendum was only a hop, skip and jump away, then you have to factor in Nicola Sturgeon’s record on public services.
It is not just that the majority of voters say they do not want a second independence vote any time soon. The SNP’s hubristic obsession – its monomaniacal pursuit of separation – has used up all the energy that should have been spent on the governing party (in power for a decade) doing the day job.
Voters have noticed. Those who don’t want independence have also had enough of the Sturgeon cult of personality and of being bullied by her surrogates and being told to pipe down. They refuse any longer to be cowed, and it is remarkable and impressive to watch.
The SNP’s poor record in government gives those taking on the party plenty to go at. Fraser Nelson took apart the First Minister’s claims on education earlier this week to devastating effect.
And now, the latest waiting times for NHS Scotland are out. The number waiting more than 12 weeks has gone up 534%. Yes, that is not a misprint.
It remains perfectly possible that the SNP election machine, built to such impressive effect in the last decade, remains so strong that it resists the incoming tide and keeps the losses down to a minimum. If it fails to do so next Thursday, remember: the number of those waiting more than 12 weeks for treatment has gone up 534% during the two years that the SNP leadership has held rallies devoted to proclaiming its brilliance and promising the faithful (a minority) that the priority is independence.