THE SNP love to rubbish Jim Murphy's election prospects, but one ex-minister seems to think he's in Holyrood already.

Convening the Standards Committee on Thursday, veteran Nat Stewart Stevenson announced a discussion on an issue raised by "Jim Murphy MSP". After Tory Cameron Buchanan corrected the Freudian slip him with a curt "MP", Stevenson burbled: "I beg your pardon. That is perfectly correct. It is Jim Murphy MP." Well, it is for now...

TALKING of Murphy, we hear the Scottish Labour leader is opening his re-election campaign HQ in Barrhead this morning. According to the locals, it's a disused Pound Store on the High Street. As a symbol of his party's distressed fortunes, could anything be more fitting?

CABINET Secretary Alex Neil has been huffing and puffing on TV this week about "electoral chaos" after a hiccup with his personal voter registration. Curiously, however, the Airdrie & Shotts MSP failed to mention where he is registered to vote. No doubt he will get round soon to telling his landlocked North Lanarkshire constituents that he actually lives faraway in the seaside tranquillity of Ayr.

THE Scottish Government recently announced the latest round of funding from its international development fund, and one applicant no doubt stood out to SNP ministers.

Among the grants was £41,333 dished out for a project that uses sport to deliver health messages to young people in Africa, following up on a successful bid last year. The name of the charity benefitting? YES! Tanzania.

GORDON Wilson, who led the SNP throughout the 1980s, went off message when he took issue with Alex Salmond's assessment that 'the vow' won it for the No side in the days before the referendum. It was the first we'd heard from the former MP for a while. Had the party taken steps to silence him? Oh no. "I've been hibernating during the winter, as is suitable for a person of my advanced years," he said.

HACKS who made it to Heriot Watt University for the launch of the Scottish Government's annual public spending and revenue statistics, Gers, were hacked off when copies of report failed to materialise in time for the press conference. In truth, it didn't make much difference. Under the original plans, they were allotted just five minutes to absorb its 98 pages of graphs, tables and statistics before questioning ministers.