IT may have been a rough few weeks for the SNP, but the doomsday-esque commentary is melodramatic.

After the 2014 referendum, the SNP achieved something extraordinary. Bolstered overnight by membership numbers never before seen in Scottish politics. So far ahead of its opponents that they didn’t stand a chance against it.

In fact, it rendered opposition parties and their leaders virtually irrelevant and continually embarrassed them at the polls.

The Scottish Labour Party, a once dominant political force, was left with just one singular MP after squaring up with the SNP.

They found themselves so lost as an entity that they somehow ended up in bed with the Tories in councils across the country, and could now be considered more closely aligned with them than with their socialist counterparts.

Whilst Labour crumbled and succumbed to an identity crisis, the SNP charged forwards – and took the country with it. With Nicola Sturgeon – a leader proving wildly popular with the electorate – at the helm, the party became an unstoppable electoral force.

Straight off the back of the referendum disappointment, the 2015 General Election was a near-clean sweep for the SNP.

Securing 56 of 59 MPs had even the most believing of supporters gobsmacked as the results rolled in.

I’ll never forget the moment Jim Murphy lost his seat.

It hadn’t even been considered a possibility given that he had been such a figurehead of the ultimately successful Better Together campaign and was the incumbent leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

Watching him turfed out on account of the SNP represented the unprecedented and seismic shift that was about to unfold before us.

The real defining moment of the 2015 election though was the unceremonious unseating of Douglas Alexander by a 20-year-old student – Mhairi Black.

Mhairi became the youngest MP in the Commons, and her unapologetic criticism of the UK Government quickly elevated her profile across Scotland.

She now has her own display in the National Museum of Scotland and is known internationally for her unrivalled ability to shut down Tories.

What Mhairi achieved that night paved the way for young people across the world and galvanised a generation of young people in Scotland to speak up about the issues that mattered to them.

It was the election of people like Mhairi that solidified the success of the SNP in the years that followed.

It was now recognisable as a party that was representative of all generations and demographics, and that was widely recognised as a welcoming movement – passionate about fairness and equality, an appealing offering in the face of an increasingly right-wing and individualist conservative government in Westminster.

The SNP presented a stark alternative, and the people knew it.

Opponents, naturally, will criticise the record of the SNP, but the fact of the matter is that the party is undeniably popular with the Scottish electorate.

The only important critic of that record has endorsed it emphatically at every opportunity in multiple, consecutive elections.

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The juncture the party finds itself at now is being spun as something of a disaster, and granted, the last week in particular has been an uncomfortable one.

But what’s being missed is that the SNP’s dominance in Scottish politics has been completely unprecedented and out of the ordinary.

Yes, for a regular party of regular membership, the loss of 30,000 members sounds disastrous. But for a party whose membership numbers soared into the hundreds of thousands – essentially overnight – after the referendum, 30,000 is nothing groundbreaking.

Simply, this is the unavoidable natural progression and evolution of a party that’s been the sole likely vehicle to achieving independence.

That fact and that fact alone is what united so many people under the SNP banner back in 2014, and it is no surprise that many are now moving on as the independence movement evolves.

There was always going to come a point at which the SNP membership would start to butt heads on issues of progressive policy.

There are people of all kinds of political persuasion that support Scottish independence – the notion that one party could ever, sustainably, be home to them all until independence is achieved has always been unrealistic.

We’re not seeing anything even newsworthy here – many of us knew this was coming.

Personally, I am glad the independence movement is diversifying in the way that it is. It’s not conducive to good political discourse to have independence defined or owned by any one party or leader.

There needs to be room for people of all political persuasion to add to the debate and shape independence so that it can best represent – and persuade – the people of Scotland. That cannot be done under one homogenous umbrella.

I’m also glad that the SNP has reiterated its commitment to the progressiveness that has been the hallmark of its success, with the election of Humza Yousaf.

I’m sure I speak for a lot of us when I say that it was quite a humbling experience to watch the party I’ve been a member of for 10 years staring a lurch to the right dead in the face.

Nonetheless, those that sought to take us down that path did not win – and if those supporters are the ones that are leaving to set up political home elsewhere, I’m glad that’s the case.

Right-wing ideology and the SNP are not supposed to be agreeable and I’m not sure why that’s become such a controversial point to make. Or why it’s such a shock that there’s been infighting on that very issue.

As much as it’s been an exciting time to be an SNP member and supporter for the last few years, that kind of unprecedented success in politics was never sustainable long term.

That’s just not how politics works. Frankly, to have got this far and still be leading the polls is a remarkable achievement in itself.

It’s okay that the membership is changing, it’s okay that our lead is tightening – that’s politics and democracy and it’s no cause for the mass hysteria the media want to stoke.

The SNP’s role as we take the next steps towards independence is to remain the progressive voice for independence.

It’s not to appease those that disagree with our policy base for the sole aim of securing independence – besides anything else, that’s not how we are going to secure it.

There are undoubtedly challenging times ahead for the party, and for politics generally across the UK and internationally.

The SNP have a great opportunity to harness the change in leadership and move forward into a new era – I think this change only spells good things for the party.