SOMETHING weird is going on at FMQs. The Tories are smiling. Grinning. Laughing. Douglas Ross was practically hysterical. 

Bulging cheeks squashing his wee eyes into his porky head, he looked like an engorged hamster. 

The reason, of course, is the SNP leadership contest, an event of which future historians will say: “Yep, they really did that”. 

Since Nicola Sturgeon stopped being the future and embraced being yesterday’s news, it’s fair to say her party has been on a bit of a journey.

To Clowntown.

The highlight of the tussle between Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan was Tuesday’s hustings on STV, where harsh words were spoken and rapids of blood were spilt. 

Ms Forbes was relentless in slagging Mr Yousaf’s record. The Old Testament Terminator said he’d been a flop in every gig in government, and there’d just be more “mediocrity” if he won.

Every word was mannah to the opposition parties and agony for those in the SNP who’d made a living pretending the party was somehow nicer than all the rest.

Hence Mr Ross’s near delirium when he told Ms Sturgeon that the candidates had “torched her record in government”.

Not even the weekly climate protest could dampen his spirits. He tried talking over the shouts from the gallery, and when that failed, just gloated twice.

“Nicola Sturgeon seemed to enjoy the start of my question, so I will repeat it,” he said, asking if she agreed with Ms Forbes that her government was duff.

Ms Sturgeon reminded him - repeatedly - that the people didn’t think so, as she’d won “eight times in eight years” at the polls. 

She says that a lot these days, like some rheumy-eyed nostalgic. 

She just should save time and have it printed on a sepia T-shirt.

Mr Ross kept bounding along in his wheel, declaring there was “civil war” in the SNP. A civil war veteran in his own party, he ought to know. 

He read out yet more of Ms Forbes’s unhelpful comments.

“That is a quote sorted for every Scottish Conservative leaflet going forward!” he squealed. 

“There is even more material that we can use. Kate Forbes said: ‘More of the same is not a manifesto - it’s an acceptance of mediocrity.’ The FM might expect to hear that from me, but did she really expect to hear it from her own finance secretary?”

She had had enough. With a metallic ping, out came the claws. 

“For Douglas Ross, mediocrity is a dizzy height he's never come close to achieving,” she miaowed.

“If he spent more time looking in the mirror and reflecting on the reasons for his party’s and his personal unpopularity, and a bit less time thinking about the SNP, he might not be in the dire straits that he is in now.” 

And perhaps when he's done, he could lend it to her.