Last night, a political bombshell landed. Shortly afterwards, before the smoke had cleared, came another explosive salvo. Nicola Sturgeon’s political career, and reputation, is no longer intact.
The first missile came in the form of the legal advice given to the Scottish Government as it defended a judicial review brought by Alex Salmond.
Its contents were devastating - each page more damning and revelatory than the last.
The advice related to a judicial review brought by former First Minister Alex Salmond against the Government he used to lead and now run by his political protegée and one-time friend, Miss Sturgeon.
The documents lay bare how badly failed the women at the heart of this scandal were. They confirm what has been rumoured for months in political and media circles.
DOUGLAS ROSS: Nicola Sturgeon’s political career, and reputation, is no longer intact
DOUGLAS ROSS: The advice related to a judicial review brought by former First Minister Alex Salmond against the Government he used to lead and now run by Miss Sturgeon
They detail stark and unambiguous warnings from highly respected, independent lawyers that the Government had no chance of defending Mr Salmond’s action.
One of Scotland’s foremost QCs, Roddy Dunlop, spelled it out in measured but crystal-clear language. Miss Sturgeon’s government was ‘defending the indefensible’.
Eventually, when his clients continued to disregard his warnings, he was forced to threaten to quit. We know what happened next - Mr Salmond won his case and was awarded legal costs of at least £500,000.
DOUGLAS ROSS: I am proud to say the public only know about any of this thanks to a tenacious and determined battle led by the Scottish Conservatives
The treasure trove of documents expose Miss Sturgeon’s Nationalist regime as being consumed by conceit and arrogance; of being truly drunk on power with no concept of accountability.
And what of the women? Mere collateral damage as Miss Sturgeon recklessly wasted taxpayers’ money and made one monumental mistake and awful lapse of judgment after another.
It is clear Miss Sturgeon was confident none of this would ever become known to the paying public. Her government tried its best to keep the legal advice hidden. In Sturgeon’s Scotland, secrecy ensures survival.
Well, she has made the biggest political miscalculation of her life. And I am proud to say the public only know about any of this thanks to a tenacious and determined battle led by the Scottish Conservatives.
Twice we secured cross-party support to win a Scottish parliament vote for the Government to release the legal advice. Miss Sturgeon, neatly, had recused herself from the process due to her central role.
Her deputy, and human shield, John Swinney twice defied the parliamentary vote and refused to release the advice.
The impasse was broken when the Scottish Conservatives called a no confidence vote in Mr Swinney. Once we secured cross-party support, Mr Swinney knew his time was up. More importantly, so did the First Minister. On a chess board, when the other pieces are captured, the queen is exposed.
DOUGLAS ROSS: Her reign as First Minister is untenable. Even the most ardent of her fans must recognise the removal van should be called to Bute House
The second explosion that landed at Holyrood last night came as the evening news bulletins were attempting to articulate the importance of the first.
It contained a damning account which confirmed the name of one of the female complainers was shared with Mr Salmond’s team - an egregious breach of confidentiality.
This compelling account contradicts Miss Sturgeon’s denials. Whatever she says in Holyrood today is largely academic. She has lied, repeatedly, to the Scottish parliament and to the people of Scotland.
Her reign as First Minister is untenable. Even the most ardent of her fans must recognise the removal van should be called to Bute House.
Someone in her inner circle needs to do something radical in this SNP Government - tell the truth and tell the First Minister that she is finished.