Cut off at the pass

More grief for trouble-magnet Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday as she tried and failed to get into Parliament. In the good old days, she would sweep into the underground car park in a ministerial motor. Now it’s the turnstiles with the rest of the plebs - if they work. A security guards had to let her in. “I need a new pass,” she explained. Presumably one that says I used to be somebody. 

Macho Mason Man

SNP MSP John Mason delivered an unexpected lecture on the dark side of testosterone at finance committee. Discussing council efforts to boost recycling, he feared better bin design was not enough, as some people “will drop litter in the street, because that's what guys do. They will not pick up their dog poo because that's what macho men don't do. They will not recycle because that's just not macho. So there's a whole kind of attitude thing there among some people.” For once, Green minister Lorna Slater struggled to comment. 

Wage is a sin

A bad week for Red Nat Anne McLaughlin, prominent member of the SNP Socialists group. The Glasgow North MP is forever demanding others pay the real living wage, which rose from £10.90 to £12 an hour last month. She then touted a “really exciting opportunity” to join her team and earn £10.81 an hour for toiling weekends and evenings. After claims of hypocrisy, she vowed to correct the “mathematical error”. Yeah, like maths was to blame for the advert.

King’s zing

Barb of the week came in the knock-about loyal address, the Commons response to the King’s Speech. Kicking off, Sir Robert Goodwill, the Tory MP for Scarborough & Whitby, recalled John Major replacing Margaret Thatcher and his children being astonished that a man could be Prime Minister. “We have now had three women Conservative premiers,” he said. “Assuming the most recent one counts, of course.” Some of the biggest grins were on the Tory benches, including on Theresa May's mug. 

Trolley drollery

Sir Bob also poked fun at himself, revealing his local paper once debated “What is the difference between Robert Goodwill and a supermarket trolley?” and concluded that a trolley “has a mind of its own”. But after almost 20 years in the Commons, he’d worked out the real answer. “The difference between an MP and a supermarket trolley is that there is a physical limit to the amount of food and drink that you can get into a supermarket trolley.”

Doug abuse

Less witty, but with great timing, was SNP Westminster Stephen Flynn. At the start of the session Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle reminded MPs to treat each other with “respect”. Just 90 minutes later, Mr Flynn pointed at Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross and said he was “chuntering fae a sedentary position like a wee dafty”. The Speaker also told MPs “to be accurate in what they say in this House”. At least Mr Flynn followed that instruction.

Mince spies

Also well-timed was Colin Beattie, former SNP treasurer and arrestee in the police probe into the party’s finances. MSPs were this week given training on how to avoid spies by the improbably named UK National Authority for Counter-Eavesdropping. One tip was using a “burner phone” on hols. At the mention of burner phones, Mr Beattie duly arrived, to much smirking at the back of the class.