“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”
The words of US President Abraham Lincoln are a timely reminder to the SNP who seem to be collapsing faster in public esteem than Gerald Ratner’s jewellery empire did after he admitted his products were “total crap”.
Ratner who had inherited his father’s small business in 1984 turned it into a UK jewellery empire with stores on every UK High St, only to destroy it in 10 seconds by insulting the intelligence of his customers and bringing down their wrath on his head.
Asked at an Institute of Directors dinner how he could sell product at such a low price he inexplicably replied: “Because it’s total crap.”
He compounded his devastating reputational destruction by admitting his company “sold a pair of earrings for under a pound, which is cheaper than shrimp sandwich from Marks and Spencer, but probably wouldn’t last as long.”
The value of the firm dropped £500 million and the group had to be renamed.
Despite the glitter and shine wearing off them the SNP are unlikely to re-brand and it would do them no good to do so anyhow.
From what I can see those still keeping the faith with them are well behind the curve of the many who have given up on them.
With numerous previous voters and members either deserting the cause of independence, and returning to the Labour party, or leaving for the likes of the newer independence party, Alba, the litany of disasters accompanying the SNP now seems certain to inflict huge damage to them at the next election.
Just when they were hoping to ride out the Michael Matheson mobile data storm, their former leader Alex Salmond, now leader of the Alba party, has announced a legal challenge against the Scottish Government seeking significant damages and promising a “day of reckoning” for alleged misfeasance by civil servants.
The Salmond action will make potentially excruciating viewing for those in power.
The publicity and very public examination of detail involved threatens to be not just embarrassing but potentially humiliating and worse for those involved.
The forensic scrutiny applied in a civil case like this one will be merciless and reputations may well be left in tatters by the end of it.
Many folk who were sympathetic in varying degrees to the cause of independence have been deeply disappointed in recent times.
Between infighting and a lack of dignity in democratic discourse in Scotland, the notion that we could somehow do politics differently and with more kindness than elsewhere has been exposed as an urban myth.
When push came to shove our political debate and argument has regularly proven to be as nasty, vitriolic, and vexatious as anywhere else.
The SNP as the governing party have been wracked with internal strife and trouble and every day appears to bring further disharmony and disagreements.
Along with the perception of the A9 dualling debacle, the ferries fiasco, and the ongoing investigation into former leader Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP seemed mired in crisis.
For a party which seemed not long ago to be utterly dominant in Scotland to one riven with internal disharmony and uncertainty, their once dazzling lustre has faded and dulled like Ratner’s “crap” jewellery.
Whether the same fate awaits them time will tell but like the Conservatives in Westminster they exhibit all the signs of an exhausted and incompetent Government; out of ideas, out of energy, and increasingly out of time.