Because the lady loves...

NICOLA Sturgeon held Christmas drinks for the Holyrood hack pack at Bute House on Tuesday. However the show was stolen by her spindoctor, Ross Ingebrigtsen, who turned up in a roll neck jumper and jacket, and was immediately dubbed the Milk Tray Man by the FM. She then had to try and explain the reference to her younger staff. Well, er, he’s this guy who breaks into your house and leaves chocolates. Desirable burglar? Hot stalker? It left half the room feeling very old indeed, and the rest just weirded out by their ancestors’ TV adverts.

Agent Orange

THE occasion was sadly missed by the First Minister’s chief of staff, Colin ‘The Juice’ McAllister, who had come down with the lurgy. However it did allow his colleagues to talk behind his back. Unspun was particularly unsettled by reports that since he started a health kick, The Juice not only scoffs lots of orange segments, he also devours all the peel. Yum. And we just thought he’d been going to a tanning salon.

Avian to-do

STEPHEN Flynn’s sticky start continues. The new SNP Westminster leader’s doomed bid to extract an Indyref2 Bill from Westminster predictably tanked this week, and let the opposition take lots if potshots. Labour’s Ian Murray even managed a dig at both Mr Flynn and his brutally deposed predecessor Ian Blackford. “I suspect he will be the family favourite to carve on Christmas day this year,” Mr Murray chortled at the despatch box. “His experience of knifing large turkeys should stand him in good stead.”

Doug out

TALKING of ruffled feathers, Labour folk in East Lothian have been getting well miffed at former Scottish Secretary Douglas Alexander trying to make a comeback there at the general election. The seat is currently held by Kenny MacAskill, formerly of the SNP and now of Alba, who has more than a whiff of toast about him. But Doogie, an ex-Paisley MP, is seen as a shameless west coast carpetbagger. Asked what his connection was to East Lothian, one old Labour hand said sagely: “It’s the most winnable seat in Scotland.”
Miracle wanted

HOLYROOD published its final expenses tally for the year this week. The biggest bill of 2021/22 was run up by the Labour MSP Group, who spent a tidy £18,000 on a three-day “masterclass in communications” with a London firm promising that under its tutelage "the uneducated are immediately cultivated, the stutterers are immediately eloquent, the dull-witted are immediately enlightened and the twisted are immediately made straight”. Lord knows they needed it, but when will it start working?

Chair trigger

CRANKIEST MSP of the week was Nat deputy Presiding Officer Annabellle Ewing, who did her dinger after two MSPs due to speak at portfolio questions missed the start of the session. She demanded that when they spoke they apologise to her, everyone else and “explain why they were late”. But when Tory Rachael Hamilton and Labour’s Paul Sweeney duly explained they’d been crazy busy with good deeds, she bit their heads off. “It is not a matter for the chair to fit around a member’s schedule,” she snorted imperiously. The amount of disdain Mr Sweeney crammed into “Madame deputy presiding officer” afterwards was an early Christmas present.