Thomson's vocal

LONG faces at Tuesday’s Big Indy Debate in Edinburgh, where fractious Yessers moaned long and loud about the lack of Indyref2 energy from the SNP. Nat MSP Michelle Thomson made headlines after playing down Nicola Sturgeon’s idea of a vote in 2023 and admitted her party didn’t have answers to big questions on money, currency and borders yet. Indeed, so gloomy was her view of the Yes side’s readiness and chances that Holyrood denizens gave her a new nickname. Behold, Michelle Gove.

Robin Rude

ALSO taking part in the misfiring miseryfest was Common Weal founder Robin McAlpine, currently hitched to Alex Salmond’s Alba party. Robin had some tough love for SNP economics guru Andrew Wilson and his 2018 blueprint for independence. “If we’re going to have something that’s a movement,” Robin sighed to the Queen’s Hall, “there has to be something that everybody, give or take, can offer some consent for. And I’ll just tell you this: it’s no the f***ing Growth Commission.” Sorry, Andrew, but the audience applauded.

The great leveller

TALKING of Goves, we here the original is struggling with his new gig as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Not the paperwork, but his ungainly fiefdom really needs a good acronym. Whitehall scamps have suggested that as it’s mostly about levelling up and loving the Union, it should be known as Lulu. He could even dance to it.

Body bagged

SILVERBACK wars at Holyrood as Tory whip Stephen Kerr hijacked a business motion to rail against vaccine passports. His SNP opposite George Adam went through him. “I tried to be reasonable,” he said. “But how can I be reasonable with someone who is constantly showboating and playing to the gallery?” His SNP troops loved it. The Paisley MSP later explained he’d been inspired by an old-school St Mirren player whose motto was: “If I can’t give the fans a goal, I give them a body instead.”

Cringe meeting

A CHEESY fundraising appeal by LibDem MP Layla Moran and party treasurer Tilly McAuliffe didn't wow everyone at last week's conference, judging by the live chat function visible to all online. "There is not enough free wine provided for this," said one activist as the giggly duo smashed a blue wall amid scripted banter. "How much for it to stop?" asked another. "Embarrassingly childish and awful," said a third. And perhaps the most brutal delegate verdict of all: "I was never glad we weren't live on BBC Parliament until now."

Davey lamped

NOT even new LibDem leader Sir Ed Davey was immune. "Cringe," one activist wrote during his speech. "Can we give Ed a chance to deliver the full speech before attacking it?" came a naive plea, prompting an old-hand to explain: "It's not LibDem conf until we've got the leadership gently roasting over a communal fire." Heart-warming stuff.

Light touch

FINALLY, from heat to light. On Wednesday, the head of energy regulator Ofgem was talking online to MPs about supply problems for gas and electricity when he was plunged into darkness. It seems his office had a motion sensor light and he was sitting too still to activate it. Given the rising anger about Ofgem letting lots of duffers into the failing energy market, adopting the posture of a sitting duck might not be the, er, brightest idea.