First Jester
Laughs were in short supply at the SNP's conference in Aberdeen this week. Except that is at the traditionally irreverent media reception, where Humza Yousaf displayed a promising gift for stand-up. “Leadership is fascinating,” he said, recalling his first six months in charge. “I said from the very beginning my approach was going to be big tent. I just didn’t expect that big tent to be in Nicola’s garden.” 

Comic Marvel
The First Minister rinsed folk in other parties too. Like Home Secretary Suella Braverman, seen as a star turn of the recent Tory conference. “And whose most humane and compassionate moment came when she stood on the tail of a guide dog,” he noted. As for Labour, he observed drily: “Keir Starmer - proving you can’t polish a turd but you can throw glitter on it.” A second career in comedy surely beckons. Or is he doing that already? 

Grant Bants
There was a lot of love at conference for Grant Costello, the SNP media guru whose likely victory in the East Kilbride selection battle prompted the defection of unloved MP Dr Lisa Cameron to the Tories. "All hail the conquering hero!” said one MP greeting him warmly. A senior staffer was more practically minded: "You know how to lose us an MP, now go and f***ing win us one." 

Stall squall 
The exhibition space at conference was a lonely spot, with many stall holders miffed at the lack of attention from SNP politicians. One lobbyist had spent thousands taking a space and only been visited by a handful of elected representatives. "We got a lot more attention for our cash at the DUP conference," they moaned. A blanked trade unionist reckoned the politicos were too scared of being ask hard questions to visit. “I’d get more takers if I was giving away Covid,” he sighed.

Name changer
Proving nothing succeeds like failure, the conference gave a huge rose-tinted welcome to Nicola Sturgeon on Monday, whose inheritance they’ll be mopping up for years. They also rose to their feet for Rutherglen & Hamilton West by-election loser Katy Loudon. Alas, the venue’s live subtitling system added insult to the injury of defeat by billing her as “Katie Lowden”. Then again, she might well fancy a new identity. 

Guff buster
One hero of conference was Duncan McLean, husband of former MSP Linda Fabiani, who had a go at colleagues for peddling conspiratorial mince. Affronted by a motion deploring a “secret international court” that apparently helped fossil fuel firms, he held up his iPad. “I’ve got a secret-buster in my hand. I Googled Energy Charter Treaty and there’s its website telling you everything. There is nothing secret about it. Someone should have picked that up as not true.” You tell 'em, Dunc. Think they’ll let him check the manifesto?

Brown stuff
Perhaps Mr McLean should have a word with depute SNP leader Keith Brown. He was  taken to task by The Ferret website’s fact checking service for claiming in his speech that Margaret Thatcher said the SNP winning a majority of seats in a general election was a mandate for Indy. The Ferret rated that as “unsupported” and said  it appeared based on a lot of ropey, decades-old Chinese whispers. All very embarrassing. It coincided with delegates agreeing to crackdown on "disinformation". Quite.