HERE’S a question: Do the SNP need a makeover? Question two: Should that involve the removal of the word “national”?

Thoughts which swirled ever since I learned that the ­current FM echoed his predecessor by musing that “national” was not the best current ­marketing tool.

You can take their point. However hard the sell that the Scottish variety of ­nationalism is strictly civic rather than in any way xenophobic, that’s not the most common perception.

Nationalism tends to get conflated with populism – not least by Unionists who ­always give away where they’re coming from ideologically by calling independence supporters “separatists”.

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Once you see the S word, you can readily assume they’re not, as the blessed Maggie Thatcher (above) would have put it, “one of us”.

Yet the first question continues to nag. Historically, only one of the two parties that merged to form the current SNP used the word “national”, and that was very much from a different age.

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Mind you, the use of “national” at all in the mid 1930s when a certain Mr Hitler was girding his loins to lead the ­National ­Socialist Party was probably not the ­greatest selling point either.

Yet it’s worth recalling that some of the 79 Group – the rebels who were expelled from the SNP – were involved in setting up a Scottish Socialist Society to try and get around the party hierarchy’s dictum that there could be no groups within groups.

That rebellion, which included such ­luminaries as Alex Salmond, Margo ­MacDonald, Roseanna Cunningham, ­Stephen Maxwell, and Kenny MacAskill, ­later joined by Jim Sillars who defected from Labour, were keen that Scotland should become a socialist republic – not quite the offer put before the lieges by Alex in 2014.

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Meanwhile, another legend, Winnie ­Ewing (above), was vocally opposed to the 79ers and launched a Campaign for ­Nationalism which sided with the then party ­managers in believing the rebel faction should be cast into the outer darkness. Not least as they were committed to acts of civil ­disobedience. Anything else, said Alex, would represent “defeatism and a cringing mentality”. Plus ça change and all that.

Subsequently, all that tub-thumping led to several expulsions and Margo ­resigning in disgust. Yet latterly, the ­rebels all ­returned to high office whilst the ­indominable Margo proved that a ­certain breed of doughty fighters don’t need ­party labels to get out the vote.

But labels matter. The Conservative and Unionist Party was so-called when it opposed Irish independence. That went well. And at local council elections an ­unholy alliance of Tories, Liberals and “Independents” united under the banner of “Progressives” for a while.

I doubt they had much in common with the self-described “progressives” in the modern SNP. Though focusing on issues about which the voters don’t give very much of a damn has never seemed strategically bright to this elector. Being woke shouldn’t be confused with being wacky.

Changing party names and logos is not all that uncommon in UK political circles across the four nations. Nor are breakaways from the mother ship – though few of them survive and thrive.

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Famously, the Liberals and the ­breakaway Social Democratic Party – comprising four high-profile Labour ­defectors – made common cause as the Social and Liberal Democrats, later just the LibDems.

These were proper political heavyweights including Roy Jenkins who had been a reforming home secretary before quitting the UK to become the president of the European Commission.

Along with former foreign secretary David Owen, Shirley Williams, and Bill Rodgers, he became a founder member of the SDP who didn’t much fancy the left-wing direction of Labour travel under ­Michael Foot. In fairness, the voters didn’t either, and the party got a drubbing in the 1983 UK election.

Yet although the SDP briefly survived with Owen, the whole enterprise basically imploded. The LibDems continued of course, until the fateful decision to join the Tories at the hip in 2010 went on to lose them a shedload of seats.

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Not that it harmed the bank balance of former LibDem leader Nick Clegg (above), now the extremely well-paid chief apologist for Facebook and all its works. Sorry, maybe that should have read “vice-president of global affairs and communications at Meta Platforms”. Or maybe not.

Meanwhile, what had happened to ­Labour was Peter Mandelson. Grandson of Labour grandee Herbert Morrison and, according to taste, a campaign magician or the prince of darkness.

Peter was chiefly responsible for ­dropping the word “party” and inserting “new” – always a good political buzzword – and commissioning the design of a red rose logo which was shortly to appear on every possible shred of merchandising material at their next conference.

Mandelson contrived to be pals with such disparate head honchos as Neil ­Kinnock and John Smith, and after the latter’s untimely death, orchestrated the coronation of Tony Blair rather than ­Gordon Brown.

Brown was deeply immersed in ­Labour culture, Blair was deeply immersed in personal ambition. But, according to ­insiders, the reason Brown pulled out of a two-horse race for the succession was not some dodgy restaurant deal, but ­because he didn’t think he had the numbers to win.

What survived all that was the rose, and – although many platform choristers couldn’t quite remember the words – the solemn singing of The Red Flag, later to be augmented by Auld Lang Syne and the UK national anthem.

It is suspected that development caused a number of former Labour troupers to birl fairly vigorously in their respective graves.

The Conservatives were also in the makeover business. For a while, they ­favoured a torch – though the length of the holding arm varied from year to year. Then came the infamous tree which caused a fair old stushie in the traditional ranks. You can just bet all of Tunbridge Wells was simultaneously disgusted.

But somehow the tree survived, though it’s now a subdued shade of blue, as is the accompanying word “Conservative”. ­Arguably, it’s a more attractive bet than the LibDems whose dove was once ­described as “a bird made from banana skins”. Sadly, once you hear that, you can’t see it any other way.

As for the SNP, their symbol – once ­created as a soft take on a St Andrews Cross – has been described, even by ­adherents, as the “clootie dumpling”.

The lesson from all of this is that change is not in itself a bad thing, and the public will react to both designs and ­colour schemes.

Most of all, ­thankfully, they still react most noticeably to policies. It’s ­generally accepted that the Conservatives, as they flail around for a life raft, have run out of options no matter what their next ­“batshit” scheme comprises.

At the moment they fall into no fewer than six different Conservative ­“families”, only one of which in any way resembles what used to be known as “One Nation” Tories. Or, alternatively, function as ­sitting MPs whose eyes don’t noticeably swivel, and who understand that having a fifth new and wholly unelected PM, might just be bad for electoral business.

You might gauge how much trouble the Conservatives are in by the fact that one new poll makes Nigel Farage the most popular choice to replace Rishi ­Sunak. However, the poll was conducted for GB “News” whose presenters are either ­sitting Tory MPs and former ministers or clearly certifiable (or both).

This despite the fact that Nige is not even currently in the party but instead is the owner of the company behind Reform UK – the successor to the Brexit Party and Ukip. In truth, Nige has been in more parties than Boris, so we can rule nothing safely out.

My suspicion is the biggest problem ­facing the SNP is not their name or their look, but the fact they’ve been in office an awfy long time.