Given the Flipper

Reader, if you have tears to shed, prepare to shed them now. Even animals are snubbing Douglas Ross. In a heart-breaking Tweet, the lonesome Scottish Tory leader revealed he’s been dingied by dolphins. The super-smart mammals gave the Scottish Dolphin Centre a swerve last week when the Moray MP came calling, despite him being a “Bottlenose species champion”. Posting a snap of himself looking at absolutely hee-haw through binoculars, he wrote: “No sightings this time sadly." Still, good practice for trying to find support among his MSPs or Tory voters at the election.

Polling error

Talking of voters, SNP canvassers have been getting more than they bargained for in the Rutherglen & Hamilton West by-election, where the locals like to let it all hang out. A Nat source has asked us to pass on a polite plea. "We know people are excited to see us, but if they've got glass doors, can they remember to chuck some clothes on. We're more than happy to wait 20 seconds." How excited they didn't say. 

Oil change

Shock confession of the week came in Thursday’s condolence debate for Winnie Ewing. As MSPs recalled the SNP’s fearsome Madame Ecosse, arch Tory Murdo Fraser said he’d been a nipper in Inverness when she was the local MP. “In my primary school, everyone wore on their blazers little yellow badges in tribute bearing the legend, It’s Scotland’s Oil,” he said. “Even my own blazer might have borne such a badge - although, to the relief of my colleagues, I should say my political beliefs have matured since then.”

Pub chat

Ms Ewing’s daughter, the SNP MSP Annabelle, also raised a laugh with the story of how her mother once made her reluctant dad canvas a Maryhill pub on a Saturday night as he tried to become a Glasgow councillor in the 1970s. Winnie introduced him to a group of women with the words, “Ladies, this is your council candidate and my husband, Stewart.” There was a tense pause and then the deadpan reply: “Winnie, are you boasting or apologising?”

Schools out

The other jawdropper of the week was Anas Sarwar 's turn at FMQs. In what Unspun reckons was a first for the Labour leader, he asked about schools, a topic he’s previously been allergic to because of his enthusiasm for the private sector. Both he and Humza Yousaf famously went to Hutchesons’ Grammar, but Mr Sarwar also sends his sons there, which he admits makes him a “hypocrite”. The FM has said he’d never send his kids private. However, Mr Sarwar still played it safe. His questions were carefully restricted to the fabric of the buildings, not the quality of education the children receive inside them.

Animal magic

The new Holyrood magazine features SNP culture minister Christina McKelvie talking about her Border Collie. At last year’s SNP conference, deputy leader Keith Brown purred that Ms McKelvie, his partner, adored his Indyref2-related nickname “wildcat”. Try replacing the dog with the other animal in her life in these quotes. What can he do? the magazine asked her. “When you’re feeling a bit low, he’ll come and shove his nose under your hand to make you pet him. He knows that makes you feel better.” What do you love about him?  “He’s a big boy and he still tries to sit on your knee.” Now try and get the images out of your mind. 

Life long Labour

The mag also featured a profile of Stephen McCabe, droll Labour leader of Inverclyde Council. What was the last book you read? he was asked. “I’m not a reader,” he confessed. “But I do buy the Greenock Telegraph religiously, six days a week, just to check whether I’m dead yet.” Having survived so long in Scottish Labour, he’s probably immortal.