NICOLA Sturgeon should leave the country more often. Ruth Davidson too. The clash between their deputies made for the liveliest First Minister’s Questions in months.

John Swinney and Jackson Carlaw went at it like two pantomime dames trying to belly-bounce each other off the stage at the Pavillion.

The noise was deafening, the banter glorious, and the enlightenment minimal. Well, you can’t have everything.

What we did have was a battle royal over parking spaces. Never in the history of political conflict has so much volume and venom been generated by a regulation 11.52 square metres of concrete. But this is Holyrood. We don’t do proportion.

Mr Carlaw was so aghast at the new ‘car tax’ coming round the bend you’d think Satan himself was at the wheel.

A £400 workplace parking levy would crush the low paid, he wailed, and that’s our job.

Why did the Deputy FM plan “to thump” workers with the equivalent of a 10p tax hike?

Mr Swinney hitched up his bloomers and turned to the audience for support.

I thought the Tories approved of giving councils more powers, he roared.

In fact, Ms Davidson published a case for localism” in 2017. Cue SNP cheers.

And Tory MSP Graham Simpson said “We need to empower councils and give them a renewed sense of meaning and purpose”. The SNP whooping grew louder.

And if that wasn’t enough, in 2016 the FM “received a letter from four Conservatives, urging her to re-empower councils. The first author was Murdo Fraser (“Oooh!”), the second was Liz Smith (“Oooooh!”), the third was Maurice Golden (“Who?”). And the final one of the quartet was... Jackson Carlaw!”

Complete pandemonium.

Mr Carlaw scoffed at the “theatrical performance” from his rival dame. “This isn’t ‘Blue Peter’, and one pathetic excuse that Mr Swinney made up earlier ain’t gonna wash.”

Mr Swinney scoffed back double. “As Jackson Carlaw goes purple faced, it is a bit rich for him to accuse me of theatrical performances.”

Mr Carlaw boomed to the rafters. “Come on, man! Simply drop this unwanted and workable plan!” Don’t give in “to six dismal Green MSPs”.

The Deputy FM faked a gasp. “Well, if that wasn’t an audition for the next panto in Glasgow, I have no idea what it was.” I think they should both get the gig, parking permitting.