Stephen Fried

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn raised eyebrows in the Green Room before BBC Scotland’s Debate Night on Wednesday, as he was overheard grumbling about the gig. Our mole reports he whined that he wouldn’t normally do such a wee show, but he had to because Anas Sarwar was on it. When you’re an MP you do the “big leagues”, not stuff nobody watches. Alas for Mr Flynn, a clip of him being shamed by Alex Cole-Hamilton for having a pop at a young Tory in the audience has now been watched more than 250,000 times on Twitter.

On BBC Debate Night, @StephenFlynnSNP was asked a question he didn't like. He turned on the audience member, outing them as a conservative activist, inviting online harassment of the young man in question by nationalist keyboard warriors.

Enough of these bullyboy tactics. 👇

Bald ambition

The lean and hungry Mr Flynn also happened to pitch up at Holyrood on Thursday while Humza Yousaf was in New York. It coincided with reports he was “on manoeuvres” and trying to build a powerbase to launch a challenge for the First Minister’s job. He did after all, and despite bare-faced denials, topple his old boss Ian Blackford to get his current position. Judging by all the MSPs eager for a blether, the FM should watch his back.

Great Fire of Linden

The SNP is getting its wellies on in Glasgow East for a knees-deep blood-soaked battle for the general election candidacy. Incumbent David Linden is being challenged by fellow MP Alison Thewliss, whose Glasgow Central seat vanishes under boundary changes. Politics is brutal. Not only did Mr Linden once work in Ms Thewliss’s office, he even seconded her official nomination papers in 2015 when she was first elected. Et tu, Ali? 

Dead proud of my friend @DavidLinden - a smashing maiden speech, a brilliant MP for Glasgow East.

Cutting remarks

It was all so different back in the day. After Mr Linden was first elected in 2017, Ms Thewliss gushed about him on Twitter. “Dead proud of my friend David Linden - a smashing maiden speech, a brilliant MP for Glasgow East.” And he posted a touching picture of their coats hanging side by side in the Commons. “Each MP is allocated a coat peg. Mine next to Alison Thewliss. Pink ribbon is to hang our swords! Genuinely.” Better get it sharpened.

Each MP is allocated a coat peg. Mine next to @alisonthewliss. Pink ribbon is to hang our swords! Genuinely... #NewMP

Ferry droll

Tory MSP Jamie Greene asked about restoring monthly tickets on the Largs to Cumbrae ferry route just before FMQs. Transport minister Fiona Hyslop said there had been “no specific assessment” about it then listed a series of obstacles to lifting a finger. “Can I thank the minister for that disappointing answer,” deadpanned Mr Greene. Unspun thinks this should now be the standard response to all such ministerial dross. 

Finn ice

Is time running out for Lorna Finn as the SNP’s National Secretary, Unspun wonders. After presiding over a chaotic leadership contest, Ms Finn is being challenged at conference next month by Midlothian Council boss Kelly Parry, partner of Owen Thompson, the local MP and SNP chief whip, who knows about rustling up votes. Hence the old Midlothian saying: “Parry looks starry, but Finn’s for the bin.”

Tax education

Some top revisionism from the Alba party in its response to the council tax consultation that closed this week. “In 2008, Alex Salmond’s Government responded to the financial crash by protecting household budgets through a fully funded Council Tax freeze,” it blared. Really? The first three-year freeze was announced in 2007, well before the Crash, as Big Eck’s idea to replace council tax was a stinker. No doubt they’ll tell us he was a clairvoyant next.