Need to be there

BORIS Johnson made a fleeting visit to Scotland on Thursday, jetting into RAF Lossiemouth to visit a distillery near Elgin. There, he faced repeated questions about his reluctance to meet Scottish voters, with his past three trips north of the Border taking place behind closed doors – including sneaking out the back of Bute House to avoid booing crowds. “I’ve met many, many members of the public,” he spluttered. “You haven’t necessarily been there.” As one hack put it, it was the political equivalent of the old playground classic: “I REALLY DO have a girlfriend – she goes to a different school so you just haven’t met her.”

National myths

BACK down south, the Prime Minister insisted it is “pure Loch Ness monster” territory to suggest, as the SNP and Labour do, that the NHS would be up for grabs under his Brexit deal. Of course, the last time he was in Scotland Mr Johnson told reporters he still yearns to believe in the existence of Nessie, so it’s not exactly clear where that leaves the NHS.

Open goal

ELSEWHERE, former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson took to Twitter to express her delight that former Dunfermline, Aberdeen and Dundee United keeper Derek Stillie is standing as a Tory candidate in Central Ayrshire – insisting he will prove to be a “safe pair of hands”. A diehard Arab tells Unspun that Mr Stillie was nicknamed Derek Spilly when he was at Dundee United due to his propensity to drop the ball. Ms Davidson will hope he doesn’t give her opponents an open goal.

Sports fan

MORE football, as SNP MSP Richard Lyle came out with this week’s most groan-inducing comment in Holyrood. “I have a confession to make,” he told MSPs debating the Uefa European Championship Bill, which aims to crack down on ticket touts. “Many colleagues throughout the chamber know that I am not a football follower. Indeed, when asked who I support, I answer: the players, because for me it is about the sport and not about teams. That’s why I’m speaking in this debate today – I support the sport; I support Scotland.” Cringe, as the kids say.

Licence to bore

MYSTERY abounds at Holyrood’s Environment Committee, as Nat Stewart Stevenson reveals he was once regularly visited by spooks. Amid a baffling exchange on digital infrastructure and resilience, he announced he could speak on a related issue “with some degree” of certainty. “In my previous life,” he continued, “I used to be visited annually by GCHQ to see that my computer centre was...” At which, alas, convener Gillian Martin promptly cut him off and moved on.

Dalek meets droid

AWAY from the cut and thrust of Holyrood, SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay – whose delivery style was once compared to a constipated Dalek – popped into the V&A Dundee, where an original Star Wars R2-D2 prop is one of the star attractions. “It was the highlight of my day,” he later told a journalist. Presumably Mr Mackay, who once charged the taxpayer almost £1,000 for a “refresher public speaking” course, squeezed in some elocution lessons.