Freedom fighters

NEWS, finally, from the long-lost Citizens Assembly of Scotland, the £1million talking shop completely overshadowed by Brexit and the general election last year. The body recently published hundreds of members’ ideas for “the Scotland we are seeking to build”. We suspect many will please the SNP ministers behind it, but not all. Alongside “be free of nuclear weapons” and “be free of poverty”, there was also an aspiration for the country to “be free of Nicola Sturgeon”.


ONLY the optimists of All Under One Banner could have had the brainwave to stage a march and rally in the depth of a Scottish winter. In a triumph of hope over meteorology, they chose today, in famously clement Glasgow, for their first Indyref2 outing of 2020, predicting a record 300,000 soggy souls would attend. After the inevitable weather warnings, it has now been cut back to just a march and no rally. Perhaps it should be rebranded All Under One Umbrella.

Jack the Flopper

MUCH toe-curling at the first Scottish Questions of the year at Westminster as Tweedy Scottish Secretary Alister Jack stumbled and stuttered through a series of schoolboy errors. Besides mangling the Sewel convention, he also informed MPs: “The majority of Scots voted to Remain, to, the majority of votes voted, sorry, to Leave in 2016, to leave the European Union”. Feel enlightened? No wonder he’s considered ‘reshuffle ready’, with Douglas Ross waiting in the wings.


NOW an MP, former SNP Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill remains an unrivalled thorn in his party’s side, casually writing off Indyref2 anytime soon at the New Year. Did he inspire fellow Nat MP John Nicolson, we wonder? The latter, who lovingly restored a listed building in London, has been fuming on Twitter about one being demolished in Glasgow. “What a shameful decision by the Glasgow SNP Council. Embarrassing,” he wrote on Twitter, sparking a public row with a senior SNP councillor. Watch your crown, Kenny.

Double date

ALSO in the Commons, MPs held elections for the three deputy speakers this week. The list of candidates’ sponsors raised some eyebrows. SNP MP Martyn Day backed uber-Tory Sir David Amess, while Nats Stewart McDonald and Martin Docherty-Hughes backed Tory Dame Eleanor Laing. But not a patch on SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC, who sponsored both Tory Nigel Evans on the government side and Labour’s Dame Rosie Winterton from the opposition. A case of having your cherry cake and eating it, perhaps?

In the blue corner

FAREWELL to Holyrood’s top spindoctors. As if to prove their parties’ mutual dependence, SNP press boss Fergus Mutch and Tory strategy smoothie Eddie Barnes announced their exits on the same day. It led to some confusion. One newspaper tweeted a picture of Nat Fergus under the headline “A key player in the Scottish Tories’ rise under Ruth Davidson is to depart”. His colleagues joked there may be some truth to that...