FOR the SNP’s swollen careerist wing a lot is riding on today’s outcome of the party leadership contest. If Humza Yousaf wins, their sleepy lives of ease will continue, counting down the days until the pension entitlements arrive and they can cash in on their state-assisted house purchases.

When that day comes they can stop the pretence about standing up for Scotland and being progressive. In the meantime, a victory for Mr Yousaf will give them a few more years at the trough yet and no questions asked.

It’s why they all came out steadfastly for him in the early days of the contest. Hopefully, he’ll have noticed their little yellow-framed endorsements which Peter and Liz had helpfully provided.

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Maybe there’ll be a wee promotion to a front-bench position. And wouldn’t it be nice to be chosen to appear on Debate Night or one of those BBC lunchtime slots. Nothing can ever match the excitement when Stuart emails to say they’re considering putting you up for a television appearance.

And then it’s a visit to Matalan to use the group discount on a new suit and a call to mum to record everything political on the BBC that week. “You might be seeing me on the telly soon, mum.” And then, who knows, maybe a junior cabinet position.

After all, they’d always voted the way they’d been told to by Peter and deployed their pronouns adroitly. And when it was suggested that they might want to stick up a wee Ukrainian flag in their Twitter feeds they’d all done so obediently. They’d even taken turns at criticising Joanna Cherry, as instructed by central office. “But don’t make it too obvious; maybe work out a rota,” they’d been told.

Come election time they’d dutifully upped the mentions of independence on Twitter and Facebook before going back to the usual progressiveness and Tory cuts.

They’d all been reassured too that there would never be any danger of the Tories granting a Section 30 order for the referendum. Stewart and Alyn had been discussing this with their friends on the Arms for Ukraine committee. “Just shout a bit and wave your arms at Prime Minister’s Questions as though you’re really angry about it. But the Tories have assured us they won’t be granting it.” What a relief. London’s nice in the spring-time.

And when the call went out that they were all to support Humza in the leadership contest they hadn’t hesitated. It was all about progressiveness and Section 35 and the Westminster power-grab.

And once they’d worked out in what order these should all come – and what some of them meant – they’d all gone out to bat for Humza. Of course, they’d all been assured that he’d win. “No danger,” Stewart had reassured them. “Liz is having a word with Kate to demand that she withdraw her candidacy as Nicola won’t countenance any other outcome. And we’ve called in a few favours from our media friends to hammer her over her religious convictions.”

Could it really be true that the Wee Frees kill all their first-born in an annual group cull on Lewis at the Callanish Stones to ask God for a good harvest? Hasn’t someone alerted the social services? There should be an inquiry at least. Child sacrifice won’t be tolerated in modern, progressive Scotland. Maybe someone could provide a Twibbon for their social media output. “Child Sacrifice: Just Say No.”

I mean, no harm to Kate; she’s always been very kind and seems very clever. I’m sure they could all be friends again when this is all over. But maybe someone could have a word with her about the child sacrifice thingy. Not even the Catholics do that – well not in public at any rate.

But if Kate wins then there’s no knowing what might happen. Already there have been rumours that she’ll lay waste to all the special advisors and the researchers. That would be so unfair. Many of them are young and put so much effort into arranging the conference karaokes and ensuring that we all get seats in the first three rows.

The party needs to be re-united and healed after all the unpleasantness of the last few weeks. At least if Humza becomes leader he’ll make sure that Nicola and Peter are protected from any of the, ahem, inquiries. I think that, just to be on the safe side, the party should secure full-time ambassadorships for both of them in countries far, far away. Stewart and Alyn have both said they’re sure they can sort something out with their friends at NATO.

And anyway, I can’t really see what all the fuss is about over the missing 600 grand. I mean what’s that between friends? I know it was ear-marked for ‘The Referendum’ (insert winking emoji) but you could argue that we’ve been planning for a second referendum since the day after the first one.

Someone even heard that the NEC had entered into an arrangement with an Irish racing syndicate at Leopardstown to purchase a thoroughbred who was descended from the mighty Shergar and that the stud fees alone would be enough to fund a dozen referendums. All I’m saying is: watch this space.

And besides, everyone knows this is all about Alex Salmond getting his revenge and that he’s been working Kate and Ash from afar. Old ‘Slippers’ Pete was telling us the other day he’d heard rumours that Alba was really a front for a devil-worshipping society. And that if you added all the numbers together represented by the letters of Alba where they fall on the alphabet they come to 16, which is the number of candles that you need to light up the altar at a black mass. So, 16 is probably the number the Beast thought of first before he came up with 666.

And get this. The atomic number of sulphur on the periodic table of elements is 16 and, as everyone knows, a sulphuric sea flows through hell. So, Alex Salmond is very probably the earthly manifestation of Satan himself and Alba are his diabolic familiars. Nicola always said that given half a chance Alba would take Scotland to Hell in a hand-cart. Now I know what she means.

But there’s something far, far worse than Kate and Ash being disciples of The Prince of Darkness. They’ve both indicated that preference for places on the Holyrood list will be given to candidates who are actually chosen by the local party membership. And that cabinet positions will only be offered to people with demonstrable expertise. How’s that supposed to motivate the troops?