Ever since the EU referendum in June 2016, the SNP have looked rather lost and irrelevant. For years they had whipped up their supporters with the rhetoric of freedom and independence, only to then find themselves arguing for the whole of the United Kingdom to remain subject to an undemocratic and unaccountable union which the majority of ordinary people have no attachment to. On the big issue of the day the SNP are now the unionists, although unfortunately for them they are European unionists, defending an institution and a concept that is rejected by the majority of British people. And of course they do all this to try to break up the Union that the majority of people do hold a deep sense of attachment to; that is the Union that binds together England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as one United Kingdom.
This has made a mockery of the anti-establishment rhetoric that helped the SNP rise to power at Holyrood. The Brexit vote has flipped things on their heads, and turned the SNP into the ultimate Europhile, establishment stooges. Yet the slavish pro-EU devotion of the SNP party machine is wildly out of touch with many of its ordinary members; around 1 in 3 SNP voters voted for the United Kingdom to leave the EU. Being out of touch with ordinary people has become a common recurring theme with the SNP, seen in a number of their unpopular policies from the smacking ban to the authoritarian Named Person scheme.
Small surprise then that when they try to come out with anti-establishment rhetoric, it all rings a little hollow. The SNP can complain all they like about Westminster, the fact is that the SNP have been in government for eleven years now at Holyrood, and all they have to show for it is a terrible record on everything from education, to the NHS, to the Police Scotland debacle. The fact that they are now introducing such silly and superfluous policies as a ban on free poppadoms highlights just how little they have to offer, and how utterly irrelevant they are at a time when the Brexit negotiations dominate the headlines.
The SNP's timid and poor decade in government, defined by inaction and mismanagement, has also highlighted wider problems with the devolution process. The SNP have tried to set themselves up as champions of the Scottish parliament, and complained about the transfer of powers from Brussels to Westminster following an EU exit, which they wrongly claim should by default go to Holyrood. They have totally failed to galvanise the public over the issue, and little wonder; who really has any enthusiasm for a devolved assembly which seems to be a rather spectacular waste of money? Holyrood now costs an astonishing £100,000,000 annually just to run, and that doesn't take account of the expense of the SNP's vanity projects, which have turned Scotland into the highest taxed part of the UK.
In the wake of the vote to leave the EU, the SNP have struggled in the new political landscape, which has highlighted their own contradictions. They told the public they were an anti-establishment alternative, yet they have turned into the most establishment, grovelling Europhile party imaginable, offering nothing more than bland Blairite managerial politics in their eleven years at Holyrood. The vote to leave the European Union has exposed the SNP as the ultimate hypocrites, who are incapable of accepting any democratic mandate that they don't agree with. The liberal media might work in their favour by whipping up scare stories over Brexit, but as the SNP's losses at the polls in recent elections show, the ordinary people have sussed Sturgeon and her cronies out for the hypocrites that they are.