Moray the Merrier
PRIZE for the most eyebrow raising press release of the week went to the Scottish Tories, who on Tuesday issued an item on local maternity services. Over quotes from Douglas Ross, the headline trumpeted: “Scottish Conservatives - Maximise the number of women able to give birth in Moray." It is unclear if the Scottish leader, who is already a father of two, has volunteered to boost efforts on the ground. 

Small change
LORD Offord of Garvel, the millionaire Tory donor speed-ennobled to become a Scotland Office minister, had his first outing at the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee this week. SNP chair Pete Wishart tried to unnerve him by asking if his new gig was by any chance related to all the dosh he’d given Tory HQ. “It is a matter of record that I have given donations to the Conservative party over 15 years, when I was not politically active,” he replied. Evidently giving a mere £150,000 counts as being politically inactive in some quarters. Now he's nailed his colours to the mast, the party must hope he finally coughs up some real money. 

Bricking it
TALKING of nautical metaphors, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack had a go at one during the same session. “We are all in the boat together,” he said of Holyrood and Westminster cooperation during the pandemic. “The waters occasionally get a bit choppy, but we are all pulling on the oars together.” So far, so good. But then a sudden shift of the rudder and he ran aground. “We are all pulling together... I have no bricks to throw, if you like.” Ah, yes, that famous floaty thing, the brick.

Parties pooped
NO more parties to throw either, by the look of it. Unspun had a hunch Boris Johnson was about to apologise at PMQs over No 10 shindigs when an email arrived shortly before his appearance from Mr Jack's office. A sign of contrition and Covid to come, this informed the Holyrood hack pack that his festive drinks do, which had been due next week, had been scrapped. It has, optimistically, been postponed to the New Year. Not long afterwards, Holyrood’s Presiding Officer cancelled her version, too. Rather alarmingly, the parliament suggested this might have to wait until summer 2022. What aren’t they telling us? 

Counting House
LORD Offord’s register of financial interests finally emerged on the Lords website yesterday. What a varied portfolio he has. He declares shares in Nude Finance Ltd, an app aimed at first time home buyers through the website. There's even a promo video titled “Watch: Nude in under 2 mins”. It's not as much fun as it sounds. Then there's his stake in Putt Shack, a “leisure experience based around crazy golf”. It’s crazy golf in a bar. But our favourite was his slice of a firm making “intelligent cash counting machines”. How very convenient when it’s donation time again.

Timed out
PERTHSHIRE Nat Jim Fairlie had an awkward moment at Holyrood on Wednesday, getting royally ticked off by deputy Presiding Officer Annabelle Ewing for being late to arrive and ask his question.  “I would wish for him to provide an apology and an explanation before he asks his question,” she scolded the rookie MSP. Mr Fairlie offered a profuse apology, adding: “I simply lost track of time.” Not unlike the rest of the SNP when it comes to holding Indyref2.