ALEX Salmond’s tribulations over his Moscow-funded TV show reminded Unspun of the fallen FM’s book The Dream Shall Never Die (nerve agent permitting). Perhaps prophetically, the entry for 17 June 2014 begins: “Worried that Vladimir Putin might cause me problems...” The issue back then was Eck saying he admired some of the President’s qualities. “In the end I needn’t have worried,” he concluded jauntily. Too soon, Alexei, too soon...

MR Salmond may not be the only Alex on his show soon. We hear former health secretary Alex Neil has recorded a clip for the programme and expects it to air next week. The Airdrie MSP won plaudits last year for grilling the secretive bosses of the Scottish Police Authority. “It's not the Kremlin you're running!" he snapped. Definitely not a safe line to use on RT.

HOLYROOD'S constitution committee attracted awe and pity in equal measure this week, as it held three epic sessions to nitpick at 231 amendments to the SNP’s alt-Brexit Bill. Convener Bruce Crawford emerged with a new catchphrase. Each time MSPs disagreed and had to vote, he would declare: “There will be a division.” It was amazing how much weariness he squeezed into just five words. Well, he did say them 153 times.

PERHAPS it was sleep deprivation, but the session included quite a few slips from the normally sure-footed. At one point, Tory law boffin Adam Tomkins raised a point of order, only for Mr Crawford to deadpan: “There are no such things as points of order at committee, Mr Tomkins.” We also liked the Official Report’s account of Brexit minister Mike Russell explaining one of the nuances of the Bill: “Section 17(2) does not prevent UK ministers from doing anything; it simply prevents what they do from having effect. [Laughter.]”

STILL, nothing as bad as the clanger from bearded Tory Brexiter Jamie Greene in a debate on driverless cars. Interrupting Nat Emma Harper, Mr Greene asked what she thought about “automatic breathalysers” to make it impossible for a car to start if someone was under the influence. A baffled Ms Harper pointed out as gently as she could that the subject was, er, driverless cars, so breathalysers didn’t come into it. D’oh!

SO, farewell then, Mandy Telford. The former Scottish Labour apparatchik held her farewell drinks on Thursday.. Having campaigned energetically for Liz Kendall against Jeremy Corbyn in the 2015 UK leadership contest, her face didn’t exactly fit with Team Leonard at Holyrood. We’d wish her good luck if she needed it, but she seems to be doing fine, being one of the few people in the country getting a job, not a P45, from RBS.

PERPETUAL Tory candidate Iain ‘Mad Dog’ McGill has finally made it to Holyrood. MSP Miles Briggs is staging a photographic exhibition next week charting Mr McGill’s doomed 2016 election campaign. It’s a bittersweet moment for Mad Dog, especially as last May, parly bosses took down the same exhibition in case it looked like a plug for his latest candidacy. All that was left was a wall as blank as his record of electoral success.

FORMER SNP deputy Stewart Hosie tweeted himself signing a pledge in his Westminster office to end unpaid trial shifts this week. The picture revealed walls thick with Natabilia. Besides a copy of the Declaration of Arbroath, the Dundee East MSP had a framed map of Scotland after the 2015 election, awash in SNP yellow. Curiously, there was no sign of a map of the 2017 election, when his vote fell 17 points, most going to the Tories.