NOT sure if you’re allowed to say The Fat Lady Has Sung, these days, but the electoral opera is well and truly over. Some of the plot lines proved rather attractive – Liz Truss and Jacob Rees Mogg ejected and not before time.

While in Scotland, an overdue comeuppance for Douglas Ross, rewarding him both for stabbing an unwell colleague in the front and abruptly resigning as party leader mid-campaign.

Yet the very depleted ranks of SNP MPs have lost some serious big hitters like ­Joanna Cherry and Tommy Shepherd, some first-class communicators like John Nicolson, and many with a genuine interest in addressing poverty concerns like David Linden and Alison Thewliss.

The dividing line between the latter and their Scottish Labour opponents is a ­constitutional one as Anas Sarwar made clear in his first interview that he didn’t dissent from Keir Starmer’s staunch ­defence of the Unionist status quo.

READ MORE: The National view on the election: A new start for independence?

Sarwar had a good war – eloquent and nimble, but still having to shake off the “branch office” jibe of former ­Scottish ­Labour leader Johann Lamont. Not so much a jibe; but more a statement of fact.

His cleverest tactic has been to persuade many thousands of erstwhile SNP voters that they needed to switch to Labour to ­ensure the Tory Party’s demise.

That was clever, but it’s hardly a trick he can pull off in 2026. Not when his own tribe will be running the ­Westminster show. A huge majority confers many ­freedoms, but it also emboldens those who felt that the handsome majority won in 1997 was ­squandered by the fact of sticking to the outgoing Conservatives’ ­fiscal rules. It looks as if Chancellor Reeves will follow suit.

Alarmingly quickly for the new team, ­Sarwar and Starmer will find voters ­demanding tangible evidence of positive change. Intriguingly, the many ­interventions of Gordon Brown about various ways in which devolution might be strengthened and embedded seem to have fallen off the manifesto wagon.

An important one, which was originally flagged up by the post-referendum commission agreement, would have been to turn the Sewel Convention into formal law.

The convention, that Westminster could not interfere in devolved matters ­without express Holyrood permission, was blown out of the water by the Tory ­Internal ­Market Act, devised to ensure the ­devolved governments could not get ­ideas above what London, and particularly ­Michael Gove, perceived as their ­station. Some son of Scotland he turned out!

It will also be instructive to learn if these tentative half promises of a two speed immigration policy, with Scotland able to determine which and how many migrants can settle here, actually come to pass. Or if the “Scottish visa” was just ­another pre-election bribe to be dispensed with when not needed.

Many SNP MPs chose to stand down for their own reasons – not least ­renowned doctor Philippa Whitford who regularly lent her skills to Palestine, the powerful debater Mhairi Black, and ­Stewart Hosie, the man who “masterminded” the SNP campaign. He exits the scene covered in something less than glory …

Being promised change is not new. ­Boris Johnson (below) had that ready-made plan to end the running sore of social care which subsequently failed to emerge. Rishi Sunak promised integrity and accountability and, like many a Tory premier before him, found that his party was not up for either.


And as she found a once impregnable majority disappear with the rapidity of an Arctic ice floe, it was clear that Truss, the shortest-reigning Prime Minister, had learned precious little from her disastrous reign. Still banging on about human rights legislation stopping governments from sending asylum seekers to Rwanda.

So whither now for the SNP who watched as much of the Central Belt turned red, especially Glasgow which once said Yes with such a loud voice?

READ MORE: Scottish independence supporters give verdict on General Election

Their conundrum is that while roughly half of the Scottish populace still want their country to be independent, that question apparently ranks low on voters’ current list of priorities.

Some independence-leaning voters were persuaded that they needed to vote Labour to banish the Tories, no ­question, but the party has to acknowledge that their record in delivering efficient ­governance is less than sparkling.

They have to accept that many voters, women in particular, fell seriously out of love with them the more they became obsessed with the kind of identity politics which few in the electorate understood let alone supported.

A persistent problem lies in the fact that so many people with influence in the SNP became involved in what became a toxic cult. It led, among lots of other things, to otherwise intelligent people spouting all kinds of nonsense.

And it may have contributed to ­Cherry’s (below) loss of her seat as she made it crystal clear that being so-called gender critical should never have been confused with ­transphobism.

(Image: NQ)

Whether or not John Swinney has the appetite for a clear out of that ­particular breed of over-influencers we don’t yet know, but a healthy start would be a ­return to the days when party policy was made by party conferences.

He would probably find that the annual conference would be perfectly happy to endorse a policy which endorsed trans rights; just not one which impinged on other folks’ rights.

In 2026 we will have two votes, but ­before we brag about the fact that ­Scotland has managed to use a form of ­proportional representation, we might reflect that it is hardly a perfect way in which to reflect the views of the ­electorate.

For one thing, it persists in letting ­political parties write their own lists for the regional vote, and cheerfully skew those lists to favour those whom they want to win, whilst sticking anyone from the awkward squad well down. The ­awkward squad in this instance being anyone who commits the cardinal sin of disagreeing with the leadership.

The simplest way to fix that would be to allow the voters to decide whom they want, or alternatively to junk the whole process and go for the single transferable vote.

What is clear is that in a UK election, governments can gain office with a small minority of voters plighting their troth. In last week’s election, 34% was enough to win 64% of the seats. Which suggests that nearly two-thirds of votes didn’t matter.

It might also remind us that the cards are stacked against any small party ­hoping to make a decent impact.

Conversely, I’ve always argued that MPs who are elected on one party ticket should resign and force a by-election if they choose to defect to another. To do otherwise means they are sailing ­under a false flag. One of the reasons that ­Alba’s two MPs did so badly might have been that their switch played badly with their constituents.

The other issue is whether or not the SNP can rid themselves of all the hurdles they constructed to stop MPs – and indeed now former MPs – from standing for ­Holyrood. If they could bring themselves to be ­brutally honest, they would consider that some of those who then became eligible were rather more valuable assets than some of the current intake.

(Image: PA)

All parties of course carry ­passengers whose contribution is negligible at best. But few of them have the bottle to go ­after the cream of the possible crop by ­de-selecting those who have failed to come up to the mark in parliament.

In all parties, these will include people who came to parliament largely because of the colour of their rosette rather than possessing any discernible talent.

In the States, more and more people are urging Joe Biden to quit for the sake of his country. Some current MSPs should ­perhaps quit for the sake of both their country and the independence movement.