A RARE misstep for Glasgow SNP MP Alison Thewliss on Tuesday in a debate on Universal Credit. Ms Thewliss told employment minister Alok Sharma how bureaucratic sloth meant someone making a claim on December 5, when UC starts in Shettleston, wouldn’t get a penny until January 9. “Is the Minister happy to be known as the Grinch that stole Glasgow’s Christmas?” Mr Sharma looked baffled. “I've never been described as a Grinch before.” No wonder. The Grinch repented. Tories don’t.

MUCH excitement among Yessers over a new campaign for Indyref2 this week. Well, a fundraising campaign at any rate. If it pulls in enough hated pounds sterling, something more concrete should follow, including a “media relations” unit. The omens are not good. The first press release renamed SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford as “Iain”, and downgraded Women for Independence to “Woman for Independence”. Oops.

GLASGOW Labour MSP Pauline McNeill also suffered a communication breakdown. Tweeting a picture of herself, she wrote: “I’m visiting my husband Ryan for the first time in Low Moss Jail who is serving a 3 year sentence. I have 3 young children under 5. I have no idea how I’m going to manage.” How awful, folk said. A second tweet soon followed. “Just to be clear. I am role playing here and my husband is NOT actually in Low Moss Prison. Families Outside gave me the script to use to imagine how complex it could be making the trip.”

MORE news on the wacky world of the Lanarkshire SNP. Despite a row over a “parachuted” candidate, the party says it’s working flat out to win the Coatbridge South by-election next Thursday. Normally, the ward’s SNP councillors would lead the fight on the ground. However both Tracy Carragher and Fergus MacGregor prioritised a two-day conference at a five-star hotel in St Andrews last week. “They’re either complacent or they’ve given up,” tuts our disgusted mole.

DEREK Mackay has been plugging Scotland’s presence at next year’s massive property junket in Cannes, MIPIM. The finance secretary even issued a brochure for would-be investors complete with estate agent hype. Apparently it’s now “less than 45 minutes travel time between Glasgow and Edinburgh by train” (current average 57 mins) and “television, penicillin and radar were all invented in Scotland”. Not by Scots working in England, then.

BUT the peach was the bit on tax. At last year’s election, Nicola Sturgeon declared: “We won’t support further reductions to the headline rate of corporation tax. That is not the right priority at this time.” How time flies. “Scotland offers businesses a location with one of the lowest tax rates in Europe," boasts Mr Mackay’s brochure, "here corporation tax will fall from 19% to 17% in 2020.” Fancy that!

AS conference season ends with the Scottish Greens this weekend, Unspun hears some traditional sponsors are thinking twice about attending next year. One charity says they get little in return for their cash, with SNP fees especially out of all proportion to the gains. Insult was added to injury when the group hosted a Nat fringe only to watch MSP Joan McAlpine stock up at the buffet then leave without seeing any of the event. Charming.