Shock Corridor

HUMBUG of the week was Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, who gave a speech of deepest red at the STUC in Dundee. He declared he wanted to be First Minister “not least so that the voices of women are heard for the first time in the corridors of economic power”. Just not in the corridors of Scottish Labour. Mr Leonard, you may recall, famously sacked Jackie Baillie as his economy spokesperson - despite her being his best female frontbencher.

Silent treatment

AND it was a double humbug award just 48 hours later when Mr Leonard praised Kezia Dugdale after she won the £25,000 defamation action brought by Indy blogger Stuart Campbell. “This is an important win for Kezia and for free speech,” he purred. But when Corbyn HQ stopped funding Kez’s defence last year - a “really dark time”, as she put it - Mr Leonard literally said nothing, sitting silently through a 75-minute meeting as his MSPs discussed it around him, then blanking questions from the media. Less free speech than free haw.

Bully for you

ALSO at the STUC, Nicola Sturgeon railed against Tory bullying and harassment. “Scotland wants no part of Theresa May's despicable hostile environment,” she fumed. The very next day, Glasgow councillor Glenn Elder quit the SNP over the leadership of Ms Sturgeon’s old pal Susan Aitken. He accused Ms Aitken of controlling councillors through bullying, harassment and, er, a "hostile environment”. Awkward.

Street level

THE Holyrood lobbying register reveals the British Retail Consortium has been fighting hard against the new parking tax - and also where MSPs stand in the schmoozing hierarchy. The BRC badgered public finance minister Kate Forbes in the “private dining room” of a top Italian restaurant, acting Tory leader Jackson Carlaw in a hotel, Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour in a brewery, and hapless Labour finance spokesman James Kelly “in the street outside parliament”. Ouch.

Over the hill

EVER alert to a photo op, Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie unveiled his European elections candidates on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill on Thursday – but didn’t reckon with the numerous steps to the summit. As a couple of the party’s ageing hopefuls staggered up between breaks, staffers worried private school PR John Edward had gone AWOL. In true LibDem fashion, he arrived just in the nick of time on his bicycle. Sweating buckets.

Wee speech

THE elections offer a chance to look back at the achievements of our current MEPs. Alas, Unspun struggled when it came to peer Nosheena Mobarik, who is standing for re-election at the top of the Tory list. Since taking her seat in September 2017, she has made just one contribution of 250 words in plenary debates. Her Labour and SNP counterparts had 10 to 17 each over the period, while blethering Brexiteer David Coburn managed almost 100. Mmmm. So perhaps it’s quality not quantity that counts after all.

Whisky ignore

FINALLY, if you have any bathtub hooch spare, Holyrood is looking for a new supplier of blended and single malt Scotch to flog in its gift shop. Applicants will be judged on delivery, cost and “samples”. Cost counts for 40% of the score, samples, ominously, for just 30%. Still, as every MSP knows, most it's destined to be an undrunk raffle prize anyway. Slainte!