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THE National’s team has been at the SNP conference keeping you up to date with all the key debates and speeches. As politicians and delegates head home, we’ve drawn up a list of some of the top moments on stage and behind-the-scenes over three days in Aberdeen.

Most dramatic chase scene

A bid to grab a word with Nicola Sturgeon led to an unexpectedly high step count for journalists on Sunday afternoon when they gathered in anticipation of a media huddle at the exhibitor stand.

After patiently trailing behind while the First Minister chatted to people at the stalls, the press pack watched aghast as she disappeared up an escalator. A burst of speed by one hack resulted in a happy ending as she eventually stopped to answer some questions.

Biggest technical hitch

The frantic battering of keyboards in the media room was brought to a sudden halt when some familiar dulcet tones started reverberating around the room in a “Richard Burton War of the Worlds-esque way”, as described by one journalist.

It turned out to be Deputy First Minister John Swinney practising his speech, after someone forgot to turn off the audio feed.

Most over-used phrase

Many variations on a theme here, along the lines of “it’s good to be back”, references to the “the first in-person gathering since 2019” and emphasising the enjoyment of meeting up with old friends and new.

There was a buzz about everyone being at conference again, with no-one daring to confess they’d rather be at home slumped in pyjamas watching it on Zoom.

Most personal insight

Justice Secretary Keith Brown opened the conference on Friday with a rallying call for independence. But he also revealed a slightly personal insight joking about how the Tories once dubbed him Keith “wildcat” Brown following comments on a referendum.

There was laughter and groans when in reference to his partner, MSP Christina McKelvie, he told delegates: “Christina’s always been very keen on that name for some reason”, but added wistfully that seemed to “be a few years now”.

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Best fringe event food

The secret to attending any conference is hunting down the best lunchtime provisions at fringe events to avoid the queues and prices of the catering outlets. One of the best spreads reported was perhaps unsurprisingly provided by the NFU Scotland, during an event discussing the production of sustainable high-quality food.

Sadly, one National journalist’s quest for a secure supply of butteries proved unsuccessful.

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Biggest elephant in the room

Or as one National journalist put it, the “toad squatting over the conference” was of course the Supreme Court case which will get underway on Tuesday after the close of conference. There was a mixed view among delegates and politicians, with some not particularly keen to discuss the issue ahead of the outcome.

Most controversial word

Nicola Sturgeon said she “detested the Tories” during an interview on Sunday morning.

Perhaps in a vacuum of any major announcements, the comment subsequently dominated the media coverage for the day to come. She was accused of using “dangerous language” by Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Nadhim Zahawi.

However it also triggered a wave tweets from others agreeing they detested the Tories too. The Scottish Tories gleefully seized on the moment to create a special poster which backfired when some took it to be SNP campaign material.

READ MORE: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addresses criticism of 'detest Tories' comment

Best new word

When Keith Brown revealed the launch of a new broadcasting platform by the SNP, it took mere seconds before it was dubbed “Natflix”.

Credit was claimed by PA's Craig Paton, but other journalists and MPs were variously cited. It turned out to be a podcast promoting the case for independence rather than a dedicated channel, but such was the popularity of the idea perhaps TV executive should think about snapping it up.

Best selling merch

The National can exclusively reveal that at this year’s conference the most sought after items were the Highland Coo plush toy and the beanie hats, both of which had sold out from the SNP merchandise stall by Monday lunchtime.

Warm scarves were also a big seller, perhaps for those who weren’t prepared for a slightly chilly Aberdeen – or in preparation for a winter of serious independence campaigning on the doorsteps.