YET hours old and Britain's newest political grouping had failed to put space between itself and the type of prehistoric, problematic attitudes from which it was trying to gain distance.

Rather than stepping lightly into a new dawn, Angela Smith MP immediately identified herself as the blundersaurus of the Independent Group by using the evocative expression "funny tinge" to describe the appearance of ethnic minorities.

Funny ha-ha or funny peculiar, the honourable member for Penistone and Stocksbridge neglected to elaborate, but it must have been the fastest sprint from fresh launch to disgraced apology a political party has yet known.

This was a stark demonstration of the need to mix more with people of tinge in order to acclimatise oneself to the fact humanity comes in a variety of shades. Meanwhile, our own First Minister was being given a chiding for attempting to bond with Johnny Foreigner.

Nicola Sturgeon took herself off to Paris to address the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Assemblée Nationale, the lower house of the French Parliament, and officially open the Scottish Government's hub office in the French capital.

Read more: Westminster ignores Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon tells French Parliament

Where she went wrong was to run this trip close to another overseas visit, this one to North America. Quelle horreur. The Scottish Conservatives were unhappy. Quelle surprise.

"Another week and another jaunt abroad for the First Minister," Chief whip Maurice Golden, by name but not by nature, said.

"Meanwhile, back home, we have a health service on its knees, our schools are struggling, and councils are toiling to balance their budgets due to SNP cuts."

Ms Sturgeon is hardly a junket junkie in the style of David Cameron who, Mr Golden I'm sure remembers, took more than 50 international trade missions in his first three years as PM, with one, to China, seeing him chug along a 131-strong entourage of celebrities, pals and party associates.

She's not exactly the reincarnated spirit of trip enthusiast Peter Mandelson who, in just one year while on the backbenches, spent so much time on planes that he, in total, circumnavigated the globe twice. In business class. Ooh la la.

I wonder how much tax payers' cash Theresa May has racked up in fruitless jaunts to Brussels.

It must be galling for Mr Golden to see the SNP leader speaking sense about Brexit in France, emphasising the positive attitude of the Scottish Government towards the EU, when his own party leader is more prone to photocalls where she ends up astride a tank, or on occasion a bull.

That's unfair, of course Ms Davidson has enjoyed her own overseas trips. Last year Ruth visited Afghanistan, spending four days in Kabul viewing the mine clearance work of the Halo Trust. Perhaps Mr Golden's view is that supporting charity work overseas has more value than building alliances with Europe immediately ahead of a catastrophic event that brings with it threats of rationing and economic collapse.

I'd argue both things have their place.

Ms Sturgeon is focused on setting a clear patch of light between Scotland's Brexit outlook and England's, while Labour and the Tories attempt any old conjuring trick to try to draw our attention elsewhere. Behold: A splinter group!

Look here: Boris, the children's favourite clown! Roll up: Rees-Mogg, the oldest, grandest amusement institution!

Read more: Jean-Claude Juncker 'not optimistic' that a no-deal Brexit can be avoided

Sadly, so far Mrs May's attempts to divert us from the pitfalls of Brexit have been as effective as the poster on the ceiling above the dentist's chair, pitifully attempting a distraction to stop the patient noticing someone in a mask and latex gloves drilling into their gums.

Absolutely, acknowledge the concern that politicians take the proverbial when it comes to junkets. We can't even trust them to stick to their own side of the chamber any longer, why trust them to stick to an itinerary when on a foreign excursion.

That's a vast part of the problem when it comes to being supportive of overseas political trips. Politicians have never been trusted to be sensible with public money or to take the moral high ground when offered private cash for first class plane rides, so it then becomes difficult to see why their time is best spent on international trade trips, something perceived as a jolly jaunt.

It's understandable but it's not a reasonable position. We must be outward-looking, we must be thinking globally, so expecting politicians to stick at home makes us look small-minded and parochial at a time when such an impression can be ill afforded.

We're about to hive ourselves off from our 27 fellow EU member states. Let's not allow them to hear us spouting parochial nonsense about overseas trips. Aversion to spending time with foreigners is what got us into this mess in the first place.

It is vital now that we give a good account of ourselves to our European neighbours, even if that means losing our First Minister for a few days at a time. Given our Brexit backdrop, it seems that travel sickness has turned the whole country a funny tinge of green.