Technical hitch

THEY may not be converting many Unionists, but the SNP is certainly attracting the Gremlin vote these days, with the party’s online conference mobbed by them. Monday opened with former MSP Stewart Stevenson silently girning over subtitles that read “[sound cut]”. After a failed restart added “[Speaker off mic]” to the captions, he finally got his laptop to work, only to announce a debate on the wrong resolution. “Let me go back to the top. Stewart Stevenson fails,” he said, including third-person egomania on his gaffe list.

Fitting introduction

LATER, the subtitles got the better of conference rookie Susan Dyer, who railed against climate change and fossil fuels. As Mr Stevenson introduced her resolution, the automatic caption system reported: “The proposer will be dire, dire, dire, a first-time speaker.” As Ms Dyer went on to suggest a travel and trade boycott of all oil producing countries - which would obviously include, er, Scotland - some wondered if the subtitles actually got it right.

Praise for Catherine

FORMER Health Secretary Jeane Freeman reflected on her time overseeing Scotland’s response to the pandemic on BBC Scotland’s ‘podlitical’ podcast this week. The ex SNP politician insisted she “didn’t dread” being dragged up on stage alongside the FM at her daily Covid briefings to put up with Holyrood hacks struggling to unmute themselves. She was asked about the shambolic briefing when public health rule maker and breaker Catherine Calderwood was sent out to apologise over and over again for her sneaky lockdown trip to Fife, before finally resigning. Ms Freeman reflected that there was “credit due to her” for “doing the briefing in the manner that she did it”. It was good TV after all.

Spotting vermin

OUR mole hears that MSP staffers scurrying around Holyrood have found the perfect place to spot some wildlife in between penning speeches and drawing up policy research. One source told Unspun that it is “inevitable” you will spot rats scuttling outside a certain room if you spend long enough gazing out the window, complete with contemplation seat and a glorious view of a concrete wall. No comment was offered on whether the vermin were abandoning a sinking ship.

Reptile dysfunction

SNP social security minister Ben Macpherson has this week broken his silence, finally, on his greatest fear – not a lack of a plan B for independence by his party colleagues, not being grilled at a committee by opponents, but crocodiles. The MSP made the admission about the chompy snappers, who he’s unlikely to bump into in his Leith constituency, in an interview with Holyrood magazine. No mention was made on him wanting to avoid any dinosaurs sitting on the backbenches.

Meeting spat

GREENS acrobat engineer Lorna Slater took the opportunity to have a pop at Labour’s Anas Sarwar on Twitter over him holding a meeting with chiefs at the oil and gas industry – despite opposing Cambo. Mr Sarwar was snapped after a meeting with Oil and Gas UK bosses. But it was later revealed Ms Slater had also held talks with the fossil fuel industry organisation back in July when she “listened to their pitch and set them straight”.