THE Herald Scottish Politician of the Year Awards saw the great and gruesome gather at Prestonfield House on Thursday. The event is perhaps most famous for Labour peer Lord Watson rudely trying to burn it down in 2004, earning him a 16-month jail sentence. One guest this year arrived to find a large box of electrical kit at the door. “Oh that? We’re fitting new smoke alarms,” he was told. Our source wondered nervously what the staff knew was coming later.

THERE wasn’t a prize for it, but the most entertaining speech came from Derek Mackay, who collected the E-Politician gong on behalf of Nicola Sturgeon. Suggesting he might keep it, he quipped: “As the finance secretary of this country I’m pretty used to taking other people’s property”. However he had to acknowledge his boss’s clout on social media. It was so great “we now follow Twitter for the cabinet decisions we’ll make”. Miaow.

BUT the real jaw-dropper came when he mentioned Scottish Green leader Patrick Harvie. Pretending the FM didn’t know he was nabbing her award, Mr Mackay said: “She thinks I’m working on the budget. Patrick, I have a room booked later on.” Mr Harvie was reportedly nonplussed. Mr Mackay was so enthralled with his own patter, that the next person on stage said curtly: “I’ll just stick to the nominations. Derek has used all my time.”

MR Harvie also featured in Tuesday’s Holyrood debate on Scotland’s digital industries. “There is a savage irony for me,” the lovable Luddite told MSPs. “Much against my better judgment, I was foolish enough to trust my device with my notes. Now the screen has frozen and the device is unusable, so I am going to have to wing it.” Oops.

BANKER-cum-crofter Ian Blackford had a sticky PMQs this week. After many interruptions - as Hansard put it, “Hon Members: Ooh!” - speaker John Bercow issued a dire warning. “The leader of the Scottish National party will be heard,” he said. “I do not think Members will want to hear the question again and again and again. But.. if they shout their heads off, they will have to hear it not once, not twice, but possibly three times.” A terrified silence duly ensued.

SPARE a thought, too, for Nat Ash Denham. Hitherto famous for extolling free education while sending her own kids private, the Lothians MSP has a new claim to fame. Recently promoted to minister for community safety, we hear a £29,000 pay bump hasn’t stopped her moaning about her new digs. Our mole reports she was overheard saying their worse than her old MSP’s office and such a “goldfish bowl” she wants screens on the windows. Purely for the sake of community safety, not vanity, you understand.

SCOTTISH Labour’s Holyrood operation has a new face. After press boss Charlie Mann gave up trying to polish Richard Leonard after six months in post, he has been succeeded by one Richard Simcox. A priority will no doubt be rebutting SNP claims that Scottish Labour is a “branch office” of the UK party. Alas, it turns out Mr Simcox is on a three-month secondment from Jeremy Corbyn’s office in London. D’oh!