WE will never know who among the SNP’s legions of advisers came up with the legend “Summer of Independence” last year. What inspired such a pithy slogan? Was it Bryan Adams’ profound and lyrical etude from the eighties, Summer of 69, about the joy of carefree love in long, sunny days? Perhaps it was something a little darker like Summer of Sam the noirish cinema classic from 1977 about big city paranoia in New York amidst shifting social attitudes and the ruthless predations of a serial killer. Set against these, Summer of Independence never quite stirred the emotions. Is it not reasonable to assume that for a party which is entirely fuelled by the dream of self-determination, every summer ought to be a Summer of Independence and every winter, spring and autumn too? That leaves us with another, less romantic notion; that the SNP simply wanted to convey an impression of its MPs and MSPs working away like busy little bees during that period when the rest of us indolently were all sunning ourselves on the Costa del Sol. I’ve since searched in vain for evidence of anything meaningful to emerge from the SNP’s Summer of Independence. All that it amounted to, it seems, was an assortment of town hall gatherings addressed by sullen politicians to groups of the faithful trying desperately to cling on to the feel-good factor engendered by the independence referendum two years previously. This was a less arduous time for the SNP. A second successive pro-independence majority held sway after the Scottish elections and the Westminster government was embarking on a quest that would result in self-immolation. Since then the Nationalists have allowed themselves to be intimidated by the new honorary colonel of the Territorial Army in Scotland wearing nothing but a single slogan to cover the modesty of her political offering. This is now the Scottish National Party that daren’t mention the word independence.

Instead, just a year after launching its Programme for Government, we’re told this summer will be one of “Relaunching Government”. Thus SNP politicians will retreat into their yurts and pods to ponder anew their policy offering. This promises to be a dolly mixture of all sorts of sweeties and firecrackers. They all come clothed in the featureless lexicon of government such as “new thinking” and “new proposals”. There will be “shake-ups” and they are all, of course, to be “considered”. It is a dismal study in non-commitment; a vanilla re-brand.

Economic growth will be addressed (what, really? Hang on to your hats) and so will the responsibilities of local councils. There may even be fresh policies on air pollution and climate change. Ah yes, climate change: a concept so woolly, inexact and undemanding that entire colonies of butterflies can rest easy within its folds.

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Let’s just remind ourselves of the challenges the SNP Government must face and tackle over the course of the next four years. During this time there will be no second independence referendum. An utterly anodyne and featureless General Election campaign allowed Ruth Davidson to become the first political leader in the history of European democracy to gain some success with a campaign that rested entirely on a negative and which contained no real policies. So inert are the new Tory contingent in London that the cleaners at the Palace of Westminster have been applying Brasso to them at the end of the day and giving them a polish.

This means the dream of Scottish self-determination will disappear for the foreseeable future unless a third successive pro-independence majority is secured at the 2021 Holyrood election. That won’t happen on the back of a vapid re-launch consisting of humdrum initiatives which we all assumed were part of the diurnal business of government anyway. A shake-up of local councils? What does that mean? What about doing something truly radical, such as a drastic and long overdue cut in the number of local councils? That would immediately bring an end to Scotland’s Tamany Hall gravy train which pays hundreds of non-descript senior executives six-figure salaries for drawing up bus timetables and keeping the lights on. “Economic growth”? What, are they now going to use some of the tax levers they already possess to do something meaningful instead of always whining about not having the whole set?

There are only three areas in which Scottish voters want to see evidence of progress: health, education and a lack of social housing. Forget all about your summers of independence and your trite government re-launches. In education John Swinney predictably retreated from real change in the governance of Scotland’s schools by retreating from anything approaching meaningful reform. Local councils would still directly manage schools and decide which ones to close. Whatever happened to the SNP’s commitment to Community Empowerment and its vow “to give individuals, families and communities more control of their own destiny”? In England and Wales far more pupils from disadvantaged communities get to university than in Scotland. This will not change in the next four years.

The plan for integrated health care is a shambles. A fund established to make this happen has instead been used by desperate health boards to keep beds open.

It’s taken the cruel deaths of more than 80 poor people in Grenfell Tower to highlight the scandalous erosion of social housing across the UK. In Scotland in the last year almost 35,000 people were homeless with Shelter saying the underlying drivers of homelessness are still left unaddressed.

All across Scotland tens of thousands of households are trapped in a cycle of poverty that “shaking up councils”; “thinking about the economy” and “talking about climate change” will never address. If the SNP must insist on re-launching government then let it solely be about food, homes and a decent education for the poor.