Calendar clash 
HOT news from Albania, aka the realm ruled by chortling overlord Alex Salmond. In his latest video to the masses, the Alba leader this week announced the party’s first autumn conference had been rescheduled due to excess demand. He had said it would open on September 18, decreeing it to be an “auspicious date”, despite it being the anniversary of the No side winning in 2014. However it has now been brought forward a week... thus starting on the way more auspicious 20th anniversary of 9/11. 

Staff and nonsense
NEW Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has been under fire for starting a mini-panic about kids being hospitalised “because of Covid” on Wednesday. It wasn't so. He told the BBC ten children were on wards with the virus, when it turned out some or all may have been admitted for other reasons, and then tested positive. Still, he can always blame his staff. On Monday, they issued a press release about his first big NHS initiative and spelled his name wrong. Oops.

Tory sartorial
DESPITE testing negative, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross remains self-isolating in an Edinburgh hotel. He beamed in to FMQs on Thursday in a smart suit and tie rather than his jammies. But for how long? We hear he only has two days of clothes with him, so descent into the hunter-gatherer look may be nigh. Worse, his wife is expecting their second child within days, and he could miss the birth. As if Labour wasn’t giving him enough grief already. 

Road Miles
A STARTLED mole reports tootling along in their modest motor this week when a flash white Jaguar pulled up next to them, looking like the sort of thing Parker should be chauffeuring for Lady Penelope. But no. Behind the wheel was mild-mannered Tory MSP Miles Briggs, who has just been made his party’s spokesman on, er, social justice. So perhaps a quick spin for Unspun and other left-behinds is in order? We’d only take it round the block, honest.

Canon fodder
TOP marks for effort to the Rev Canon David Richards for his odd mini-sermon at Holyrood on Tuesday. After quoting a "stress management” boffin on how they rated Jesus (a pass), he urged MSPs to tend their souls. If they didn’t, they risked “ego depletion”, he warned. Ego depletion among politicians? Has he met Angus Robertson? 

First words
TALKING of new MSPs, more have made their first speeches. Nat Jackie Dunbar bravely praised her Aberdeen Donside predecessor, Mark McDonald, the ‘sinister minister’ who quit over sleazy texts. 
"He most certainly did a fantastic job of representing his constituents, and I wish him all the best for the future,” she said, skirting round his phone skills. South Scotland Conservative Craig Hoy also took a chance, citing a relative who called folk like him as a “bloody Tory”. We look forward to it on his next T-shirt. 

Choppy seconds
SNP MSP Jim Fairlie said school was "purgatory” for him. He explained: “I was neither engaged nor enthused and I was given no vision or ambition for what I could achieve. I had ideas, ambition and imagination, but no one was listening to what those ideas were." Life as an SNP backbencher shouldn’t come as a shock, then. But the last words of wisdom go to Labour’s Colin Smyth, who gave the rookies a top tip: “They should not be drawn into a false sense of security. Everyone listens intently and politely to a first speech, but their second speech is when the heckling begins - or maybe that was just for  my second speech.”