Cover story

SNP Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson used his Edinburgh Evening News column this week to heap praise on bookshops. Edinburgh is a "world-class capital of literature", dontcha know, with a "flourishing" of different outlets. Riveting. "I should declare that I have a book currently on sale, which I wrote before my election as an MSP," he added coyly in the penultimate line of the piece, which was obviously not a sly plug for his new 464-page history of Vienna.


VENTURING north this week, UK LibDem leader Sir Ed Davey lectured hacks on the need for a Scottish inquiry into the handling of the pandemic. "There must be... a judge-led inquiry in Scotland to a strict timetable, to look at some of the Scottish dimensions," he said. "The SNP probably don't want an inquiry," he then harrumphed, apparently blissfully unaware that just such an inquiry was announced in Scotland in August. 

Small talk

CRINGE of the week came from Nicola Sturgeon as she opened her Ted talk on climate change with an ancient gag. “I’m going to start today with a question. In other contexts, perhaps a risqué question perhaps - not one you would expect from someone in my position in a talk about climate change. But it’s important. Does size matter? My answer – perhaps also unexpected – is that no, it really, really doesn’t. And Scotland is proving that.” Whether her hubby, SNP boss Peter Murrell, is part of this proof was left unsaid.

Big talk

TRY telling LibDem MP Jamie Stone size doesn’t matter. After boundary boffins this week said his already vast Caithness seat should be expanded, he fumed it was “stark raving bonkers”. It would be the UK's biggest and take him three hours to drive its length, he wailed. However he omitted the best argument against the change - another 29,730 people could have the Bertie Woosterish Mr Stone as their livid MP.

What a banker

Ms Sturgeon added more amusement on Tuesday when she opened the hi-tech Barclays campus in Glasgow. Cutting the ribbon with her was rookie Scotland Office minister Malcolm Offord, the failed Holyrood candidate who was fast-tracked into power via the Lords after coincidentally giving the Tories almost £150k. Not only did his first official visit force him to stand amid a welter of Barclays signs, reminding everyone he was a banker not a politician, he was also required to thank Ms Sturgeon, an actual politician and serial election winner, for doing the introduction. They break ‘em in hard and fast at the Scotland Office.

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry warns threats at MPs must be taken 'more seriously'

Greenock Ermine

BIG Malky also took his seat in the Lords as Baron Garvel, a nod to his home town. “I'm just a local boy from Greenock who got a free education from the state, who went up to London by mistake, and has been trying to come back ever since," as he once put it. Homesickness no longer seems to afflict him. He has just updated his company records to declare himself now a resident of England. Still, good of him to drop by.

Holiday mood

HAS the FM’s recent forgetfulness spread to her staff, we wonder. On Thursday, her team sent the media a note giving the time and place for a post-FMQs briefing. It took  an hour before the inevitable follow-up: “There will be no media briefing today - please accept our apologies." It seems someone forgot Holyrood is in recess.