Salmond's SNP has always had a touch of Blair's New Labour project about it. You know (I mean, see what I did there?), the policy triangulation attempting to appeal to the left and right at the same time, the cosying up to big business cronies and a glossy and glitzy image with just that touch of the showbusiness about it. And Holyrood has always looked like it has the makings of being a mere microcosm of Westminster rather than some kind of brave new democratic world.
Thus last week's revelations regarding Alex Salmond's proffered support for Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB takeover bid for the thinly-veiled quid pro quo of The Sun backing the SNP came as no great personal surprise. Just the kind of thing I'd suspected all along.
However, from other strands of opinion there does seem to be more than a hint that last week's revelations represent something of a watershed as regards their view of Alex Salmond.
For example, MacBlogosphere stalwarts and SNP members(?) Jeff Breslin and Lallands Peat Worrier both lay into Salmond, although admittedly neither have ever really been shrinking violets when it comes to an honest appraisal of their own side.
And pro-independence - but neither small nor big-N nationalists - MSM commentators like Gerry Hassan and Iain Macwhirter* fairly put the boot in.
Of course, the usual suspects have simply swallowed Alex Salmond's 'jobs and investment' defence whole, but there does seem to be a tone about the criticism from the less blinkered and more thinking supporters of an independent Scotland that suggests that Mr Salmond has just taken things a bit too far, particularly with such a toxic individual as Rupert Murdoch.
Equally instructive is perhaps the response from SNP guru Stephen Noon. Indeed, the fact that the whole imbroglio seemed to waken him from something of a blogging torpor maybe says something about the importance of the whole thing.
Naturally Mr Noon no more obviously criticises the first minister than his backbench 'sheeple' masquerading as MSPs at Holryood. But it's surely telling that Mr Noon doesn't even attempt to address the substance of the allegations, and instead focuses on public perception of the whole event, and in particular lambasts Johann Lamont's slightly shrill efforts to pin Mr Salmond down at last week's FMQs. Thus he rightly slams her use of the patronising and Cochersesque "Wee Eck" jibe, but in other ways his critique borders on the incredible.
I mean, in the context of FMQs he slams Johann Lamont for being "shouty and angry" and a "rude and angry woman" in taking on Alex Salmond? Oh, the irony! And a "day-tripper" was so outraged by the "tone and nature" of her questioning that they hotfooted it to SNP HQ to donate £50? Just some random visitor no doubt, or was it 'Braveheart1320'** from the Newsnet comments section?!?
(Actually, if someone did genuinely donate £50 in this way then perhaps it was just some random individual, because in view of the SNP's swollen coffers from the largesse of their zillionaire backers like Souter and the Weirs, is there really any point now in anyone who knows about this donating a measly £50? Or maybe it's just me!).
Anyway, as well as neatly sidetracking from the substance of the debate, Mr Noon's fixation with the presentational aspects of the whole imbroglio also perhaps underlines the preoccupation of 'New SNP' with marketing gimmicks rather than policy.
Well it worked for Tony Blair and New Labour, didn't it? Up to a point...
Of course, even if the whole thing does represent something of a defining moment for Alex Salmond and the SNP and indeed the whole independence project, of course the public are generally fairly tolerant of political parties and their leaders, and the inevitable decline is more of a culmination of a drip-drip effect rather than due to some kind of tipping point. Or perhaps a tipping point of sorts, but a very faint tremor rather than an earthquake, to mix a couple of metaphors.
Thus Cochers' allusion that the men in yellow suits might have to be having a word in Alex's ear some time soon seems well wide of the mark. In any case, even if Alex Salmond does represent damaged goods politically, the likelihood of anyone replacing him between now and the referendum and/or the next Holyrood election is remote indeed. That would simply make any bad situation for the SNP considerably worse.
Stephen Noon is also correct insofar as he says that to a large extent all this is just a political bubble thing. But again there's a drip-drip effect in operation, not just in terms of public perception per se, but also as regards how what happens within the political bubble permeates through to the great unwashed. It may not simply burst through the political bubble and make it pop, but the bubble isn't hermetically sealed either.
* Newsnet describes Iain Macwhirter as a "Unionist". I always had him down as pro-independence, if not nationalist or Nationalist, but perhaps it's a Newsnet 'them and us' thing.
** My made-up pseudonym may not be historically consistent!