NICOLA Sturgeon’s woes over Alex Salmond may depress Yessers, but the FM is a millner’s dream. Depending on the spin of the day, she was either wearing an SNP leader’s hat in secret talks with Eck, and not covered by government rules, or a government hat and so unable to tell the SNP what she knew. Small wonder that in addition to ‘Tricky Nicky’, she was this week dubbed Holyrood’s Queen of Hats.

TALKING of which, denizens of the Holyrood bar were surprised to see a Make America Great Again bunnet on Thursday. Underneath was Labour press officer Andrew Liddle. The self-confessed uber-Blairite and Ruth Davidson biographer got it as a leaving present. Never a terribly good fit for Team Leonard, the clubbable posho is following in his hero Tony Blair’s footsteps - working for a dodgy President at the US consulate.

STUDENTS of Eckgate know the Government’s misconduct probe was botched by having the wrong official run it. But who appointed her? According to official procedure, it was Director of People Dr Nicola Richards. The former academic has a curious background for HR. In 2000, she co-authored the immortal sociology article “What difference does its make? Women’s pop cultural production and consumption in Manchester”. Reassuring.

UNSPUN has found a copy. It is, to put it mildly, a slog. Here’s how the authors summed it up. “As cultural industries such as popular music are predicated upon the colonisation of urban space we explore the use of the city and the particular character of Manchester’s music scene. We conclude that, despite the existence of highly contingent and individualised identities, patriarchal relations remain evident. These are particularly clear in discussion of the performative and sexualised aspects of the job.” Blimey.

THE other big event of the week was Theresa May’s historic gubbing over Brexit. With speculation rife about the margin of defeat, the winner of the Holyrood sweep was the SNP’s Richard Lyle, who had 230 votes on the button. The deeper mystery is how. The Uddingston & Bellshill MSP is not exactly famous for getting into the fine print of politics. “I don’t read newspapers,” he memorably told the Court of Session in a defamation case last year.

KNOWN as ‘Salty Dick’ for once claiming £1.80 on parly expenses for a bag of chips, Mr Lyle also features in the new Holyrood magazine. He’s pictured at a Christmas drinks reception chortling alongside his office worker Sheena McCulloch. Alas, the festive spirit didn’t last long. A week later Ms McCulloch was ordered to pay £40,000 in that defamation case after falsely accusing an SNP colleague of racism. She has now been referred to the party’s conduct committee. Whether it’s numbers or staffers, Salty sure can pick em.

THERE was much fuss about Richard Leonard’s latest video for Scottish Labour. Eagle-eyed Twitter bores spotted not ever frame featured Scotland, frothing that one of the mountain ridges was in Wales, while somehow missing the shot of a London bus. More interesting is what was left out. Mr Leonard’s vision for Scotland didn’t make a single mention of the little matter of Brexit. He truly is the keeper of Jeremy Corbyn’s illumination-free flame.