If a week is a long time in politics, the past seven weeks must have seemed like a lifetime for the SNP. It has been a quite extraordinary period of political tumult in Scotland.

At the start of this short timeframe, the party first witnessed its longstanding and influential leader Nicola Sturgeon suddenly announce that she was quitting.

Before many activists and supporters were over the shock of her departure, they were watching the contenders to replace her knock chunks out of one another on live television.

Now, after a painful and bruising contest that revealed their party was divided on the best successor, they learnt that Ms Sturgeon’s husband – and the party’s former chief executive – had been arrested by police investigating its finances.

For some in the party who have grown accustomed to buzzing from one election win to the next, it is beginning to feel like there is no way out of the morass.

The implications of the SNP’s meltdown are likely to be felt beyond Scotland, where the party is still in charge of running the country and has a variety of domestic issues to be getting on with, from NHS waiting times to the cost of living crisis and beyond.

If the present crisis leads to an electoral defeat, the odds of there being a second independence referendum in Scotland will recede significantly.

The movement is, of course, bigger than one person and one party – but it needs a figurehead and an organised machine to succeed in its aim.

By admin