I NOTE that under plans to redraw Britain’s electoral boundaries the SNP is to lose two of its Westminster MPs' seats. This must surely be good news for nationalists who feel that the continued presence of dozens of SNP people at Westminster kind of undermines their argument for withdrawing from the UK.

It’s also an opportunity for the SNP to inject a measure of radicalism, not to mention fun, into this political version of musical chairs. Rather than simply wait for the Boundary Commission’s proposals to be formally ratified I think the SNP should draw up a short-list of their least effective MPs (there are many candidates, so this shouldn’t be a problem).

They should all then be faced with a series of questions, including: how much have you advanced the cause of independence in your time at Westminster? Outline your plans to address the toxic culture of misogynistic bullying and intimidation that exists within the SNP’s Westminster group. How many friends and family have you put on the office payroll? Express as a fraction the number of times you’ve opened your mouth at Westminster about independence compared with the free dinners you receive at black tie events and sundry other refulgent occasions in London’s dizzying social whirl.

There should then be a vote by the SNP’s entire membership. The losing two candidates would then be formally de-selected and their places automatically taken by the two sitting MPs whose constituencies are set to disappear under the changes.

First among equally useless equals

THIS diary is nothing if not civic-minded and so, in a spirit of generosity and selfless devotion to the cause of independence, I’ll provide potential candidates for the chop over the course of the next four weeks. Here’s the first in the series: “I’m Supposed to be a Nationalist: Get Me Out of Here.”

1) Pete Wishart: The MP for Perth and North Perthshire is known throughout the independence movement by the affectionate nickname ‘Slippers’. This does not refer to his fondness for the stalwart leisure footwear. Rather it denotes a fondness for the easy life at Westminster without having actually contributed anything meaningful to the cause he’s supposed to represent.

In 21 forgettable years as an MP he is best known for seeking to become the House of Commons Speaker, a position which – ironically – comes with regulation issue soft shoes. He now seems to spend most of his time hurling childish imprecations at the Alba party on Twitter.

Readers’ suggestions for other nationalist MPs who could be candidates for the chop-list are welcomed.

I'm at boiling point with the telly

POLITICIANS on enforced sabbatical will never be short of employment opportunities. Such is their acumen for being all things to all people there will always be opportunities to re-invent themselves as television cooks and gourmands. In any given week in the UK there are up to 10 television programmes devoted to food.

Saturday mornings on television were once devoted to children’s entertainment with programmes such as Swap Shop and Tiswas. Now, they have become the preserve of affluent and footless middle-class C-list celebrities with hard-working agents.

They gather in outsize kitchens the size of your average car showroom and fill the time between making abstruse culinary concoctions with asinine anecdotes about life in the slow lane of showbiz.

As Britain enters recession and ordinary families struggle to feed their children they are effectively being trolled by the television companies. “Press your nose up against the window: this is what you too could have if you lived in a large house and have an annual income of £250k."

And, finally, some heartening news

TO Glasgow University’s Dumfries campus for the latest in their series of Future Shock debates about making our services and institutions more resilient when the next global catastrophe hits.

Highlight of the day was the contribution by Lorraine McGrath of the Simon Community which works to alleviate the isolation of homeless people and those sleeping rough.

She outlines how homelessness and rough sleeping was almost completely eradicated in Glasgow and Edinburgh within four days of the Covid lockdown. With the help of the Scottish Government, hotels were made available to accommodate both cities’ homeless. Then the staff and volunteers of the Simon Community got to work, providing lifeline help and health services and reconnecting some people with families and systems of support.

“It conveyed a message to people who were unused to be being included and being told their health and wellbeing didn’t matter," said Lorraine. Nurses came in to give vaccinations and, at last, these men and women were finally being reached and told that they mattered and could be cared for.

She reports that, following the pandemic, the numbers of rough sleepers in our two biggest cities remain in single figures in Glasgow and between 10 and 20 in Edinburgh.