Jack the Slipper
TWEED flavoured gaffe whirlwind Alister Jack was on top form at the Tory conference in Manchester this week, spontaneously inventing hurdles to independence and rewriting the rules for an Irish border poll in TV interviews. The Scottish Secretary was also forever getting lost around the conference centre and hotel, Unspun’s mole reports. At one point the Toff-nado even asked the media where he should be going, and was gently told to “see the nice lady over there who will help you”.

THE oddest moment of the conference was two blokes gatecrashing a live BBC TV broadcast while doing an egg-and-spoon race for Times Radio. They turned out to be Aberdeenshire MP Andrew Bowie and Times Scotland Political Editor Kieran Andrews. “Ooh, lively behind us,” tutted BBC presenter Jo Coburn. We’re not sure what Mr Bowie was thinking, but we reckon Kieran’s dropped egg was surely a subliminal plug for his new book Break-Up, about Alex Salmond, the Indy Humpty Dumpty.

IT’S happened again! Nicola Sturgeon’s habit of answering questions at Holyrood with the wrong scripted reply struck again on Tuesday. In two recent examples, the FM drifted off when her own MSPs asked questions. This time, Green Ross Greer asked about Covid improvements in schools and got lectured on a £25m business fund. He reacted with some exasperated side-eye. If he could just get used to being ignored, he’d be a minister in no time. 

The Herald:

Could Duguid better
TALKING of ministers, Boris Johnson took shamelessness to new heights at the Scottish reception at Tory conference, seeking out Banff & Buchan MP David Duguid to tell him he’d been doing a great job - just days after sacking him as a Scotland Office minister. Mr Duguid was replaced by millionaire Malcolm Offord, who was rushed into the job via the Lords, a snap ennoblement wholly unrelated to him donating £150,000 to the Tories, we're sure. You’ll get no ‘Malcolm Offord, Boris accepted’ jokes here. However it did lead Scottish leader Douglas Ross to quip that if he ever wanted his old job as a minister back, he’d now need a peerage to get it.

BoJo Uh-oh
BUT if anyone thinks Mr Offord is a suck-up, they should read his recent collection of essays on the Union, in one of which he effectively admits the Prime Minister might (whisper it) be a bit of a liability to the survival of the United Kingdom. “Just because you don’t like Boris is not a good enough reason for leaving,” he writes. “First, Boris is not a typical Englishman and, second, Prime Ministers come and go. So far, we’ve shared 55 of them (11 Scottish) in this 314-year-old Union and some were better than others.” Ouch.

IN another essay in the collection, the budding Baron explains his passion for education, and laments its decline under the SNP. He then wraps things up with a nod to 32nd President Franklin D Roosevelt and his transformative New Deal for America in the 1930s. “It’s time now for a New Deal in Scotland,” says the new-minted peer. Somewhat unfortunately, this plea is illustrated by a picture not of the clean-shaven rock-jawed FDR but his chubby distant cousin Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th US President, resplendent in signature moustache and glasses. Tsk, tsk. Homework, m’lord, homework.