In her speech to trade unionists today at the STUC in Aviemore, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon made so much of the investigation into alleged Tory election fraud that she had no time to cover her own party’s unrelated but awkward difficulties with two MPs who are now not to be SNP candidates at this year’s poll.

This passage somewhat overshadowed a very good joke, told deadpan, by Sturgeon:

“We are, of course, at the start of a general election campaign,” she said. “A campaign called by the Prime Minister last week for one purpose and one purpose only: to strengthen the grip of the Tory party and crush dissent and opposition…”

It takes quite a brass neck, as they say, for the First Minister to talk with a straight face in a condemnatory fashion about strengthening a party’s grip and crushing dissent and opposition. The SNP has 56 of Scotland’s MPs, sorry 54 after the two who must not be mentioned were disappeared, out of a possible 59. The Nationalists govern Scotland in the most bossy fashion and its leadership and most fervent supporters react with humourless horror when their magnificence is questioned. They are assisted in this online by a bunch of cybernat maniacs who would have fitted in nicely during one of Scotland’s bouts of religious persecution.

Even better, opposition is actually banned in the SNP. Yes, banned. Dissent is expressly against the rules. This is why the 56, sorry 54, never, ever, say anything remotely at odds with the leadership position. Not a word. Not a hint of rebellion. Ever. And why the party’s MSPs at Holyrood resemble the front rows of an audience at a Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Opposition is against the rules in the SNP. No other party in the UK takes such a rigid and sinister view of such matters.

But it’s Theresa May who is the authoritarian. Good one, First Minister.