John Swinney was confronted at Holyrood on Thursday with slam-dunk evidence from his own Scottish growth commissioner that the SNP knew fine well in 2014 an independent Scotland could not rely on oil tax revenues to plug the deficit.
That deficit, it turns out, would have been £15 billion every year. To put it bluntly, they never told us the truth.
His response was to wave his arms, rehash old “It’s Scotland’s oil” beans and try to humiliate Kezia Dugdale for standing with the Tories and Liberal Democrats in Better Together in what is now clear was a heroic, bullet-dodging campaign.
Brian Taylor of the BBC’s view was he contrived to “sidestep a question. Twice. But he did so with such panache and chutzpah that he had them roaring”.
Less fawning commentators, less likely to go weak at the knees in the face of an SNP “big beast”, might replace these words with “menace”, “malevolence” and “obediently braying”, and ponder the lengths the SNP will go to drag Scotland out of the UK against its will.
Mr Taylor did make one point which will come back to haunt the SNP junta. Scottish Labour will not join a Better Together 2. Next time the independence camp will face several campaigns, all supporting different versions of the United Kingdom. And each campaign, every day, putting different arguments and citing different examples of how the SNP’s dire track record and dreich nationalism will be the death of Scotland.
And, judging by the growing number of interjections by Jim Sillars, Kenny MacAskill and former leader Gordon Wilson they won’t even be able to rely on their own side to keep their thoughts and doubts to themselves.
I hope that, for Ms Dugdale, revenge is sweet.
1 Willow Row,