A year ago, the SNP was guaranteed to win every election in Scotland. There wasn’t anything much anyone else could do about this. The SNP had around 45% of the vote while the Pro UK parties split the rest. But there is a limit to the effectiveness of tactical voting and electoral pacts between Pro UK parties were not possible nor even desirable as it would prove the SNP argument that Labour was the same as the Tories.

We were stuck. The SNP didn’t have enough to really push for independence, but Pro UK parties had no way of defeating Sturgeon. This situation looked as if it was stretching into infinity.

What happened? No one really has an explanation for the result of yesterday’s by-election. What caused a twenty-point swing to Labour? It certainly wasn’t anything Keir Starmer did. Nor was it anything that Anas Sarwar did. The explanation lies exclusively with what Nicola Sturgeon did.

Nicola Sturgeon resigned. But no one really has a clue why she resigned. She insists that it had nothing to do with her subsequent arrest or problems with her party’s finances. We may or may not believe her. But that is the explanation for the SNP’s defeat. If Nicola Sturgeon was still leader, the SNP would have won in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

Want to see Scotland under the SNP?

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter and join the fightback against Scottish Nationalism.