The Alex Salmond inquiry report is incriminating for the civil service and casts shadows of doubt on the expertise of those in high office, most importantly the permanent secretary and those in Holyrood.
While it is safe to conclude that Nicola Sturgeon’s standing will remain untouched, there must be some high office resignations for people to feel like some figures in government are taking responsibility for the misconduct.
First things first, Leslie Evans, the permanent secretary, will probably be the first figure to face public scrutiny over her handling of the inquiry.
Sooner or later, it will be evident to the public that Ms Evans is responsible for the strict execution of policy – a test failed by the SNP Government.
But what is sad to realise is that the SNP Government’s internal attitude to the judicial review painted a grim picture of an establishment unable to meet its duty of openness and honesty through pure ineptitude and possibly deliberate obstruction of justice.
In its long list of failures, the recurrent theme is a civil service unable to consummate basic requests, which were key to the SNP Government case as they justified the judicial review.
The inquiry report details a document-handling process so ridiculously faulty that it directly led to the case becoming unjustifiable, and where numerous counsel-demanded requests failed to disclose crucial information.
The big tax money that was spent and wasted on behalf of the Scottish people is not acceptable and Ms Evans is the one fully responsible for the misconduct.
The other prominent figure who must be quick to take responsibility and resign is Judith Mackinnon. She is the civil servant whose appointment as investigating officer tuned out to be the crucial defeat of the SNP Government’s rebuttal of the judicial review.
It is not easy to conclude how Ms Mackinnon can stay in office given the fact that it was data from her records that failed to be presented to the court.
Nicola Richards, who ultimately appointed Ms Mackinnon as investigating officer, could accompany her on her way out of office.
In the inquiry report, the committee argues that it is “astonishing” that a civil servant of her experience did not single out the hazards of appointing Ms Mackinnon to office while fully aware of her past contact with the complainers.
Finally, it all comes down to the matter of the first minister’s resignation – a repeated demand by the opposition.
Contrariwise, the first minister has been partially blessed and saved by the foolishness of her opponents, such as the belief of her political mentor that Sturgeon led an unfounded conspiracy against him.
The bar for her resignation over the inquiry case was set artificially high by the enemies at conspiracy level and breaking the ministerial code, allowing the lesser, trivial charges of leading over serious government failures to be accepted among the public as not a serious matter of life and death.
The inquiry report cleared the first minister of this central charge and even the Holyrood committee, divided irreversibly into party lines, concluded that a resolution on the code was for her alone.
The preparatory measures for dissolving the inquiry report as partisan were laid months ago. The amateurish tactical miscalculation by the Scottish Conservatives to call for her immediate resignation prior to her evidence session handed a big fat victory to Ms Sturgeon and her party.
The first minister escaped her dark fate not because she and her SNP Government were shown to act fittingly, but due to the miscalculations of those desperate to see her go.