NICOLA Sturgeon was on good form as she hosted Christmas drinks for the media at Bute House. Looking back on 2018, she declared one of the most startling moments for her was former LibDem leader Nick Clegg going to work for Facebook. “For the first time in his career, Nick Clegg has the chance to actually influence an election,” she laughed.

AS is traditional, Ms Sturgeon was presented with a novelty gift by the Holyrood press pack. This year it was a Baby Shark CD in tribute to her infamous Baby Shark dance at a recent Bute House kids’ party. Daily Record Political Editor David Clegg noted it wasn’t as good as last year’s present, a giant bottle of Frosty Jack’s strong cider in honour of minimum pricing. “I drank it,” Ms Sturgeon recalled fondly. “No one noticed,” Cleggy deadpanned.

MS Sturgeon’s predecessor also had a Christmas feel to his Kremlin-TV show on Thursday, the same day Ofcom slammed the RT channel over bias. Alex Salmond’s chat show wasn’t criticised, but it’s in some rum company. In its defence, RT told Ofcom: “RT has a relatively small UK audience and is avowedly Russian… Viewers turn to RT with the expectation that they will receive a Russian viewpoint.” Comrade Salmond must be so proud.

MORE festive fluff in Holyrood magazine, where acting Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw reveals a talent for pulling strings. Discussing traditions, he said: “I have 68 marionettes and I do a puppet show…usually five set changes and always finishing with a big Christmas scene.” How very normal. “Is every politician not a frustrated actor?” chortled the Christmas ham. “I did quite a few of the voices. In fact, the old charwoman sounded very like Annabel Goldie, ‘Absolutely!’.” Unspun wonders if Baroness Goldie of Bishopton will be amused.

IN the same feature, Richard Leonard insisted Scottish Labour’s Christmas party never got out of hand. Really? We hear this year the Holyrood bash included the internal resistance putting on the Blairite anthem “Things Can Only Get Better”, followed by chants of “Tony! Tony! Tony!” According to our mole, it was all too much for Corbynite MSP Neil Findlay, who retreated with his staff into his office.

MEANWHILE the Scottish Greens chose indoor crazy golf in Hawaiian garlands for their Christmas party. MSPs Andy Wightman and Patrick Harvie were the best, we hear. Press officer Jason Rose told everyone he’d come dressed as a Tory - in tweed, National Trust tie and green wellies - only to be mocked for looking like that most of the time anyway. “I am partial to a bit of tweed,” admitted the turf-coloured staffer.

FINALLY, to mark the centenary of female suffrage, the SNP has issued a list of 100 women representing the party. Only one mentions the press. “The Holyrood press pack is overwhelmingly male and I think it has an effect on the discourse,” she tuts. “I hope in a future independent Scotland we’ll be able to leave the adversarial patriarchal style of politics behind.” The author? Gillian Martin, the hapless minister-for-a-day exposed by… the press.