HAVING watched Andrew Neil’s television interviews this week with Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn and witnessed their contorted faces struggling to hide their contempt – like two schoolkids set to be strapped for not knowing their sums – the question arises on what to get Neil for Christmas.

A few months ago, Paisley-born Neil’s departure from the BBC’s Sunday Politics was being heralded by some feminist writers and left-wing thinkers, who cited his ‘arrogant’ behaviour on air and claimed that his aggressive interviewing style belonged in the Eighties.

But it’s as clear as the plastic wrapping around the Sunday Times, which Neil formerly edited, that the Scot is not only not out of touch, he has a forensic knowledge of modern economics, government statistics and details of party strategies, and he has to be kept on.

Yes, he bullied Sturgeon and Corbyn, over the NHS record, and anti-Semitism. And you know Boris Johnson is currently a blond rat up a drainpipe, anticipating a half hour in Hell to be more pleasurable.

It’s no surprise to learn Neil was once voted the interviewer politicians least wanted to be interviewed by. And we need him asking the questions.

But what about his Santa present?

The first thought is a DVD of Billy Wilder’s The Front Page, the newspaper-set madcap comedy starring Walter Matthau (not the Cary Grant version), as a dyed-in-the-wool, old-fashioned journalist who demands answers.

Neil would enjoy this, and it would serve as a reminder to keep on tearing into those who come into his view because we need forensic questioning of all our politicians – at this time in particular.

The second thought is a course in anger management. Neil is one of the coolest interviewers on television (he was less cool as a newspaper editor) yet you worry there are only so many times he can ask the likes of ‘Will you say you’re sorry?’ (Corbyn) or “You have called for legislation to protect the NHS from Donald Trump. Maybe the NHS needs legislation to protect it from Nicola Sturgeon?”

I’d also consider buying him a ticket to the Globe Theatre to take in the next production of Julius Caesar, just as a reminder of how regardless of talent, power and position there are always those plotting his demise, (although he will recall his Sunday Times exit at the hands of Rupert Murdoch). The BBC are always aware of calls to replace the white, privileged, older male. But then perhaps Neil recalls all too well his replacement on Sunday Politics by Sara Smith.

This is not to say Santa’s sack should be full of pressies Andrew Neil will welcome. It should perhaps include the biography The Truth About Trump, if only to alert Neil of the dangers of allowing crazed American presidents leeway, a reminder of how the Scot once backed Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy - and once commanded his literary editor to scrap a sympathetic review of a book that criticised US intervention in El Salvador.

I’d also buy him a biography of John McLean, the Scottish socialist who fought for working class rights, people like Neil’s electrician father and cotton factory worker mother who struggled in the early years in a Paisley housing scheme. (Although Neil proved to be a powerful opponent of the Council Tax).

And I’d consider also a tube ticket to visit Tony Blair at his home in Westminster’s Connaught Square where Neil could have a nice lunch and sit under some mistletoe and wonder if he still felt like kissing up to Blair’s decision to invade Iraq.

But overall, Andrew Neil deserves a heavy Christmas sack because on television he has no favourites. He will take on anyone, regardless of doctrine, party, stance on Europe, the lot. Indeed, James Delingpole, London editor on the far-right American website Breitbart News, and a contributor to the right-wing Spectator magazine, owned by the Press Holdings Group of which Neil is chairman – was once interviewed by Neil over his claims a no deal Brexit would be good for Britain. Neil lacerated Delingpole’s argument to prompt the Breitbard man to later write, “Trying to wing an interview with him is a bit like going for a dip in the river in Australia’s Northern Territory and hoping there are no crocodiles”.

Which makes me realise the perfect present for Andrew Neil. It’s a Marlon Brando leather jacket, as worn in The Wild One. Remember Brando’s Johnny is asked ‘Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?’ And Johnny replies ‘Whadda ya got?’

Neil is Johnny. He’ll take on all of them if he thinks they need to be taken down.