Cherry picking
Some late news from the Journalists’ Charity lunch in Glasgow last week, where politico podcasters Alistair Campbell and Rory Stewart were the big draw. Besides whanging on about Labour’s revival, Mr Campbell had fun asking the room who would be First Minister in 2026. There was a modest show of hands for Humza Yousaf, quite a lot more for Anas Sarwar, and a few for “someone else”. Intriguingly, one of the someone-elsers was SNP MP Joanna Cherry KC. Which brave and brilliant lawyer could she possibly have in mind for the job? 

Clock watchers
Some late news too on the second independence referendum. The one Nicola Sturgeon hoped would be on October 19, if the Supreme Court agreed. It didn’t. The date was politely ignored at the SNP conference. However the plucky folk of Edinburgh Western SNP maintained their online countdown clock. It’s still there, showing IndyRef2 is just 000 days, 00 hours, 00 minutes and 00 seconds away. If they now let it count up to IndyRef2, we wonder how high it would go? 

Smoke screen 
Douglas Ross was in a nostalgic mood this week, writing about the way TV united people during big national events. The Queen’s Coronation, the marriage of Charles and Diana, Michael Portillo losing his seat, that kind of thing. Urging the UK Government to keep free-to-air services going into the 2040s, he wrote in the Daily Mail: “Older people in particular value the simplicity of terrestrial TV. People on low or fixed income know quality and choice are available for free at the touch of a button.” The Scottish Tory leader’s nostalgia was a bit hazy though. Oddly, he forgot to mention the Tories axed free TV licences for all over-75s in 2020.

Yes we won’t
Those hoping the conference season is safely over will be badly disappointed this weekend. After Labour, the Tories and SNP, it’s now the turn of Alba and the Scottish Greens. Alba tomorrow discusses its general election strategy with talk of it making a “widespread intervention across Scotland” (ie a mass of lost deposits) after the SNP rejected its plan for one pro-Indy candidate per seat. A bit awkward, as Alba has already registered new ballot paper names at the Electoral Commission. Sadly, what “Alba Party: Scotland United” and “Alba Party: Scotland United for Independence” need to work is some actual Yesser unity. 

Tweed creed
Last out the traps are the Scottish Liberal Democrats, who gather in Edinburgh  a week today. They kick off with former MSP Jeremy Purvis moving a motion that urges “freedom from stifling inequality”. After he lost his seat in 2011, Mr Purvis became Baron Purvis of Tweed at the age of 39. He claimed almost £45,000 in attendance allowances for being at the Lords on 134 days last year, roughly a 23-hour week. His official portrait shows him looking like a bearded Russian count in a double-breasted suit with a two-peak pocket square. Oh the inequality is just stifling, old boy.
 The Herald:
Indy Schmindy
Independence minister Jamie Hepburn was almost as funny as he thinks he is at Holyrood this week. Fellow Nat John Mason asked if he could explain the benefits of “freedom from London rule” to two Tory MSPs. “Frankly, it is probably beyond my best efforts to explain anything to Murdo Fraser and Sharon Dowey, but I will continue to do my best,” chortled Mr Hepburn.