Co-editor JOHN MCGURK is back from a sojourn in foreign parts. He says it’s amazing what happens when you leave the country for several weeks and take up residence where internet connections are intermittent and the talk on local television is gobbledygook.

The tendency is simply to open another bottle and watch another sunset until news manages to break through the surrounding paradise and a realisation sets in that the world is getting even madder.

For example: A reality TV star is on course to become the next President of the United States.

The world’s biggest car manufacturer pulls a fast one and now faces billions upon billions of costs and fines for cheating and lying.

The Labour party is now run by left-wing extremists who applaud terrorists and want to hand power back to the unions.

Obama has been busy on a TV survival show eating bear poo while the Russians bomb Syria.

A woman bakes a cake and the BBC gets an unheard of 13 million viewers.

As we used to say in the heady days of newsprint, when it sold in inexplicable numbers, who would have thunk it!

This is also true of the story which appears to be rocking Scotland and its 21st century political movement which still appears to look invulnerable to any kind of criticism.

As the SNP meet for their annual conference in Aberdeen this week, the most worrying aspect of their dominance of politics in Scotland is the lack of a talented opposition despite the appointment of Kezia Dugdale to lead Scottish Labour.

In particular, there is a serious shortage of credible people who are prepared to speak out for fear of being pilloried, and even terrified, mainly by online venom.

It’s left to morons like the former Sun editor Kelvin McKenzie to try and slap down Nicola Sturgeon publicly with remarks such as his ridiculous and worthless “Jockestan” jibe on TV. Even the regulator didn’t think much of it and has effectively said “so what?”

This lack of opposition has meant that the party has been able to easily shake off any whiff of dodgy dealings because of its popularity, its army of followers and its ability to manipulate media folk to such an extent that even Alastair Campbell should be astonished.

The SNP has never been slow to stick the boot into political opponents who fell by the wayside so they should now face the same treatment because of the business dealings of their newly-elected MP Michelle Thomson.

If the allegations are proved that her company bought homes from struggling families way below the market value and then sold them, sometimes on the same day, for a healthy profit then this will be a scandal with grave repercussions.

Naturally, Mrs Thomson denies the accusations but the solicitor who acted for her has already been struck off by the Law Society while the transactions conducted by M & F Property Solutions are being investigated by the National Crime Agency.

For Nicola Sturgeon, the scandal is beginning to spread to her own doorstep because of suspicions that her husband Peter Murrell, the SNP chief executive, broke campaign spending rules when he apparently took an interest in the pro-independence group Business for Scotland of which Mrs Thomson was a leading light.

Nicola must also explain the SNP’s candidate vetting procedure which, in the case of Mrs Thomson, failed to pick up the fact that her company was involved in potential mortgage fraud despite the fact that it was first reported four years ago.

Scandal combined with incompetence and allegations of financial irregularity is a potent mixture and has the ability to blow up into something uncontrollable at a time when the Nats are again raising the question of a second independence referendum as the prospect of Britain quitting Europe seems to be more likely.

Clearly, much will depend on the result of the Police inquiry but so far Scottish Labour continues to be struggle to score much of a hit particularly since Nicola has reminded them that Labour MPs from the last Parliament were sent to jail for expenses fraud.

It appears that there is still no-one capable of taking on the SNP and re-balancing Scottish politics.

Until there is, book another plane ticket and pray for the return of some sanity.

John McGurk was editor of The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday and was managing editor of The Daily Telegraph.

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