CLANGER of the week award goes to Jackson Carlaw for his interview in the new Holyrood magazine. The acting Scottish Tory leader seems to think maternity leave is a bit of a doss. He described Ruth Davidson’s absence from Holyrood for the birth of son Finn as a handy chance to “recharge” her batteries. “Ruth is, like any new mother, getting her energy back,” declared the Eastwood MSP. Meanwhile in the real world, we suspect pathologically sleep-deprived new parents might disagree - if they weren’t so utterly knackered.

NEXT Wednesday should be a fascinating night at Holyrood, with a meeting of the Cross Party Group on Cuba. Item 5 on the agenda is “Update from the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign on matters of interest in the region.” As it’s organised by some of Labour’s biggest lefties, presumably the news from Maduro’s chaotic dictatorship will be absolutely spiffing.

SPARE a thought for Nat Stewart McDonald. The Glasgow South MP was harangued at his constituency surgery recently by right-wing pest Tommy Robinson, who broadcast the stunt live online. Unspun hears the Prime Minister herself later consoled the MP with a quiet word. However, much to his angst, there was no such outreach from SNP HQ. Another example of why SNP MPs are increasingly exasperated by the aloof automata “up the road”.

YOU read it here first. Last month we revealed Director of People Dr Nicola Richards was a central player in the Government’s botched misconduct probe into Alex Salmond. Her role in appointing the wrong investigator was confirmed in an FoI this week. It puts an ironic twist on the sociology article she co-authored in 2000 about Manchester’s music scene, “What difference does it make?” Well, in the case of the legal bill for Mr Salmond’s successful judicial review, the difference to taxpayers was about £500,000.

STILL, the confirmation is an excuse to admire more of the snappy insights in Dr Richards’s masterwork. “To understand the gendered nature of pop cultural production it is necessary to grasp the gendered nature of pop cultural consumption,” goes one instant catchphrase. And not forgetting: “The intimate inter-relations between cultural industries and urban space necessitate an understanding of the gendered use of the city.” Swoon.

BUT what of the top official in the botched probe, permanent secretary Leslie Evans? Diaries released under FoI reveal her, er, fun side. In two entries from January 2018, Ms Evans scheduled plans to tweet a “selfie”, one with a fellow mandarin, one with a sheep’s stomach. The latter entry read: “Drinks/dinner selfie Joining @scotgov colleagues to say #CheerstoRabbie”. Tue enough, she then posted a snap of a haggis, adding: “Your pin wad help to mend a mill in time o’ need’ #BurnsNight2018 #CheerstoRabbie.” How spontaneous!

SO, farewell then, Councillor Allan Stubbs. The aide to Coatbridge MSP Fulton MacGregor left his position as SNP business manager on North Lanarkshire Council with immediate effect this week. Cllr Stubbs admitted in a court case last year he may have called an SNP colleague a “twisted bitch”. So naturally he was in charge of party discipline. Unspun’s mole tell us ‘Stumbles’ quit before he was forced out at the group AGM. Justice at last!