As imagined by Brian Beacom

DID you enjoy the Channel 4 leadership debate?

Look, Kate Forbes’ position on smacking may be under question, as one newspaper claims this week, but my critics are wrong to suggest she’s giving me a skelping in the hustings.

Yes, we may be eaksy-peaksy when it comes to party support for a new FM, and she may be battering me in public vote terms.

But I’m not going to debase myself by speaking of meaningful statistics. I didn’t do it when I was justice minister, I do my best to avoid it as health secretary so I’m not going to begin now.

Indeed, if there’s any smacking to take place on the Yousaf backside it will come from the Chief Bumskelper, which is Nicola.

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Okay, there are a few who say, ‘Why doesn’t Nicola openly endorse you? Does she think you’re little more than a useful lickspittle?’

But of course, she can’t.

Indeed, she whispered to me the other day: ‘Humza, I’m not going to come out and declare that you are right and fit to step into my shoes given I must remain impartial – and also factor in that this could come back to haunt me.’

And for that impeachable piece of diplomacy I love, adore and applaud her.

But anyway, let’s get back to the debate. I thought I did great. Kate Forbes may have made a convincing case for putting the economy first but I handled that brilliantly, in the soft-spoken, gentle voice of a paid assassin by hinting that her religious beliefs could well take Scotland back to the Dark Ages, long before we were a country that could in fact take back its ginger bottles.

That wasn’t a mediocre response, was it?

As for Braveheart Ash? She’s burnt out.

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When Ash Regan spoke of her ‘independence thermometer’ I had to resist the urge to ask into which part of the body politic it should be inserted. And are the public right now strategy-sick with a fever – or just a tickly throat?

And I loved Krishnan’s question ‘Gary Lineker – Red Card – or Back of The Net? Ash gave Gary Lineker a red card even though she hadn’t even read his Tweets. That’s like me saying I can fix the Scottish economy even though I know diddly of how business operates.

But where I really won out was in not trashing other people’s records, because, first and foremost, it’s not nice for the party.

And second and foremost, Mystic Meg on a bad day could have predicted I’m not going to come out of it very well.

One bloke in the street yesterday shouted at me; ‘If Gary Lineker stood for FM he would get more votes than either of you, and Scots don’t like him.’

But I know full well Gary isn’t standing, is he?

I’m up against one woman whose pic is stapled to Mhairi Black’s dartboard and another who is more flaky than the skies over Inverness at the moment.

Next hustings, please.