The latest edition of Unspun: The Herald's political diary.

Driving Ms Dougie
DOUGLAS Ross may have had yet another mediocre outing in Tuesday’s BBC debate, but at least he had a first class ride home. Fellow politicos were stunned to see a chauffeur, in full uniform and cap, standing to attention and holding his car door open afterwards. Not even the First Minister had such luxury. Despite forever distancing himself from Boris Johnson, it seems Mr Ross nevertheless shares his love of the good life. Although if he keeps unimpressing the voters, we suspect it might soon become “Taxi for Ross!”

Volga language
MOST party leaders shied away from press conferences this week in case they stuck their foot in it. But Alex Salmond gave it a go. As is traditional, the Alba party leader was asked about his work for a ruble-splashing TV channel. His programme, he insisted, was more balanced than some on BBC Scotland. “We are extremely biased,” he flapped. A Freudian slip, or just letting Vladimir know all's well? 

Defective defectors
WE also hear Alba has been desperate to find some big name SNP defectors this week, but the turncoat hunt has not turned out well. Recent endorsements have therefore been rather underwhelming - Les Huckfield, last a Labour minister in, er, 1979; Alasdair Stephen, who, um, came third for the SNP in Skye in the 2010 general election; and, sigh, Inverclyde councillor Jim McEleny, who dramatically declared he was voting Alba to elect the top candidate on the West Scotland list, one Chris McEleny. Chris just happens to be his son. Tough call, pops!

Family business
TALKING of families, when he's not leading Scottish Labour, Anas Sarwar is an obsessive video game player, as his kids will attest. "I like to pretend to them that I'm doing some really, really important work on my phone, and instead I'm probably playing Football Manager," he confessed to hacks this week. Mr Sarwar ended his campaign with a plea to tackle child poverty. He should ask his mum. According to his MSP register of interests, she was the biggest donor to his recent leadership fight, giving a handy £10,000. That’s one way to tackle it. Cannily, this was half the pocketmoney she gave him in 2017, when he lost to duffer Richard Leonard.  

Citizen Smith
FINALLY, irony bypass of the week came from SNP MP Alyn Smith. Appearing on a Radio 4 discussion, he was scathing about the first-past-the-post system used at Westminster. “A dreadful system of electing people, it really is,” he fumed. As the SNP may be about to win a majority at Holyrood solely on the back of FPTP MSPs, he may want to rethink that. Unspun also raised its eyebrows at Alyn’s remark to Tory MP Lee Rowley on the show. “Lee makes the point that independence is divisive. Well, I would dispute that...”