Kate expectations
Edinburgh East SNP MP Tommy Sheppard was unequivocal in last year’s party leadership contest. Humza Yousaf was the candidate for him. He had “a decade’s experience in high office”, was a “seasoned grassroots campaigner” and had “energy and enthusiasm”. Next week Mr Shepphard is holding a “campaign social & fundraiser” for the election at a tenner a ticker. His special guest? Er, one Kate Forbes. Buyer’s remorse, Tommy?

Aye, doctor
Talking of fundraisers, we see Dr Zubir Ahmed, the Labour candidate in Glasgow South West, fell far short of his grand-plus Crowdfunder target last week. When he stood for Holyrood in 2021 he got £1200. This time he only raised £420. Perhaps because since 2021, the NHS consultant has bought a five-bedroom £1.2m mansion in the area, and local activists reckon he should look in his own pockets first. 

Power hunger
Belly rumblings of discontent at Scottish Labour conference last week when the Fabian Society held a lunchtime fringe on how to win the election. While those at other fringes tucked in to free grub, the Fabian event was devastatingly uncatered. It prompted former Glasgow MP Ian Davidson to note the election would be about keeping promises. "Your advert says refreshments provided," he said. “If you can't trust the Fabians on a simple promise like that, what hope is there?” 

Caffeine free
As the laughter subsided, the chair of the event, Katherine Sangster, said she could “only apologise for the false advertising”. At which Mr Davidson shouted back: “Resign!” Ms Sangster insisted the event had “refreshed minds”, but explained the Fabians’ strength lay in “providing drink” - they just weren’t very good at providing tea and coffee. Or sarnies. Or wraps. Or pies. Or, our starving mole reckons, any good reason ever to go again.

Pyjama party
However there was copious drink later at the media reception and a Margarita-filled lobbyist fest in town. Alas, some of those indulging their social side didn’t get long to sleep it off. A fire alarm in one of the conference hotels saw dozens of folk shuffling around like zombies on the pavements of Finnieston in the small hours of the morning. All very embarrassing. They looked just like delegates at a Tory conference. 

Jack the Quipper
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack hosted drinks for the Holyrood press pack at Queen Elizabeth House, the cavernous UK Government HQ in Edinburgh on Thursday. Well, they’ve got to do something with it. Also there was Lisa Cameron, the SNP MP for East Kilbride who defected to the Tories last year. Unspun hears she kept going on about crypto-currency, causing much mystification. Still, Jack seems to like her, claiming she’s one of the few Nats never to have asked him for an honour, ho ho. 

Grey Zone
Labour peer Lord Foulkes has been in the news after setting up a pro-Union group to carp about SNP ministers funding anything that whiffs of Indy. Former Liberal Democrat Deputy FM Lord Jim Wallace and former Scottish Tory leader Baroness Annabel Goldie complete the No campaign revival. Critics have been harsh. SNP MP Stewart McDonald said it was “long past time to retire these busybodies”. With an average age of 75, parliamentary wags have now dubbed the trio “Zimmer Together”.