Fails pitch

HOLYROOD is under attack from Westminster! Not just the SNP’s summer of Indy slogan, but the theme of last week’s charity football match between MPs and MSPs at Tynecastle. It was a messy affair. Tory MSP Brian Whittle, a former athlete, knackered his hamstring in minutes, while Scottish Liberal Democrat press boss Max Sefton was studded in the knee by a Commons staffer. The forces of devolution, so often undermined by London, needed no help at the Hearts FC ground, and amply undermined themselves by losing 8-1.

Training wreck

THE humiliation wasn’t confined to those forlornly chasing the ball. Captain of the Scottish Parliament 11 was deputy Presiding Officer Liam McArthur. His example to his troops was to let in most of the goals as keeper. We hear he blamed the Westminster bunch for training too hard and too often. Holyrood’s finest slobs assemble twice a year for a kickabout. Tory leader Douglas Ross, who is both an MSP and MP, got around the problem of divided loyalties by being the referee. Although, as we said, Westminster did have eight goals allowed.

Roasted potato

SEVERAL MSPs got ready for Thursday’s debate on AI by monkeying around with the ChatGPT bot. Nat Michelle Thomson told the chamber: “I asked, Is Stephen Kerr more effective than a potato? It was not able to answer that question, so it still has some way to go.” Unspun also asked it about the gobby Tory MSP. “Comparing an individual’s effectiveness to a potato is not meaningful,” the snooty calculator replied. Quite useless! The answer is obviously “No, he’s not.”
Mister clean

THE SNP group at Holyrood let its locks down on Tuesday with dinner and a sherry, we hear. Keen to keep the party going, the most dogged revellers ended up back at the gaff off baby-faced former minister Ben Macpherson. They were shocked at the state of the Leith MSP’s place. “It was so spotless we’re convinced he’s a serial killer,” one trembled.

Comms to grief

HUMZA Yousaf was chinned at FMQs by Western Isles Nat Alasdair Allan about the ferry misery inflicted on his patch by CalMac. Dr Allan said islanders had been advised to take long detours “in a statement that could only have been written a long way from South Uist”. Mr Yousaf said the ferryless deserved better “comms”. Perhaps someone should tell him that CalMac’s director of communications is, er, his old colleague, the former SNP minister and special adviser Stewart Maxwell. 

Blanked space

MR Yousaf was on ebullient form at FMQs, even giving an ironic wave as he left to Tory Liam Kerr, who had complained about him. His bubble burst soon enough. Passing a gaggle of reporters, the First Minister asked if they wanted to ask him anything. Nah, they shrugged. FMQs was too boring. Truly, there is only one thing worse than being subjected to a media huddle, and that is not being huddled at all… 

Child benefits

AFTER FMQs, Mr Yousaf’s spindoctors told the press he would host the “annual cabinet meeting with children and young people” next Tuesday, a traditional event that lets the politicians of tomorrow learn bad habits from the ones of today. Do they get to make the decisions? asked one hack. “If only,” sighed an official.