IN under two weeks voters will go to the polls. Nicola Sturgeon is trying to convince people that what is really on the ballot sheet is the decision on whether Scotland should face another referendum.
Her logic is simple, if you vote for the SNP and they win a majority then they have a mandate because the people of Scotland will have spoken. Interestingly, the First Minister doesn’t talk about it being a mandate to lead a successful and powerful devolved Parliament. But perhaps that is not too surprising given her personal track record. If voters were just looking at suitability to run a devolved Government the SNP’s popularity would almost certainly take a hit.
After all, you do not normally ride home with a majority if you are steeped in controversy. If you have wasted millions of pounds on failed projects. If you have presided over declining education standards and missed health waiting targets. If you have doubled the drug deaths rather than halving them.
Normally after 14 years of messing up you would face the wrath of the voters at the ballot box. But silver-tongued Nicola Sturgeon understands her audience.
She knows that they do not care about her failures because they are willing to believe that they are simply beyond her control, consequences of the supposed evil regime south of the border.
As long, as she continues to offer the dream, she may yet salvage success at the polls from that legacy of failure.
But the real question is whether the crown she wins is one that will bring adoration or her ultimate martyrdom.
She has played her role with adept finesse to date, offering just enough hope to her acolytes to keep them on side but never quite taking them over the line.
It is the ultimate yellow brick road, and the Wizard of Oz is frantically trying to keep the show on the road.
But Scotland’s Wizard of Oz cannot in reality deliver her promises.
Her sweeping claims about separation lack any substance.
Since the age of 16 she has lived and breathed the dream of separation and yet she is still unable to answer even the most basic questions on how a standalone Scotland would work.
After 34 years of thinking about it, 14 years of which she has been in power with unfettered access to the resources of the Scottish Government, Ms Sturgeon has not come up with any answers she is willing to share.
The best she can offer is that she will commission a working group.
Presumably because they didn’t like the answers the last group gave them, A Growth Commission that talked of years of austerity clearly wasn’t going to sell the dream.
So, after 34 years, one has to wonder if she isn’t just a little bit worried that it is not quite as simple as she wants us all to believe.
But maybe Ms Sturgeon does not need to worry.
After all a leader needs a team and on Wednesday her number one candidate in the South of Scotland Emma Harper gave an interview to a reporter in which she explained that a hard border between Scotland and England was a positive prospect because it would create jobs.
So, apparently, we can stop worrying about that challenge!
The same Emma Harper also explained in a previous interview that currency will not be a problem because we can all use plastic.
I guess when your mantra lacks substance you need disciples that are not embarrassed by their own lack of knowledge.
Sadly, Ms Sturgeons deception has not only fooled her own disciples the opposition at Holyrood has been sucked in and given oxygen to the illusion.
Despite referenda not being a devolved power, they too are campaigning on the idea that the election is about a referendum mandate.
So, as they all dance along the yellow brick road in the hope of returning to Holyrood the voters are asked to decide who has courage, who has a heart and which one has a brain.