EVEN at this early stage in his career as First Minister, ghostly visions of unfinished and broken down ferries must surely plague Humza Yousaf’s dreams.

Douglas Ross in particular has asked the First Minister about ferries so often at FMQs that it’s a wonder why neither of the two men haven’t headed down to the shipyard, armed with their best spanners, to try and get them sorted themselves.

Let’s be honest, Holyrood hasn’t exactly been busy recently.

After the UK Government’s latest unwanted intervention in devolved legislation, now the only policy proposal that was at least interesting enough to get people talking in recent months – the Deposit Return Scheme - has been put on hold once again.

So, let’s be smart about this and kill two birds with one stone.

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The Presiding Officer should organise a wee away-day for MSPs down to Ferguson’s shipyard and also CalMac HQ.

Give MSPs some tools, take away their phones so they can’t bore us all with photos of them wearing high-vis vests, and set them to work.

They will either prove a useful addition to the building process or tire themselves out trying. Either way, it would be a more valuable use of time than just shouting at each other in Holyrood.

Douglas Ross began telling the First Minister: “This week, a third of the population of South Uist turned out to protest against ferry cancellations. They are rightly furious that, this month, every ferry to their island has been scrapped.”

Well, you would be, wouldn’t you?

People who live in island communities aren’t asking for a shot on one of Richard Branson’s commercial flights into space – just a reliable ferry service.

We live in an age of AI technology, weird holograms of dead popstars performing live concerts and virtual reality lion hunting. Surely a regular, working ferry that runs on time isn’t beyond our wit?

The short-lived post-Covid taxi-driver shortage was comparatively a (very) minor inconvenience to what island communities regularly have to put up with. And I still moaned about it to anybody who would listen.

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If I lived on an island that had its ferry service scrapped I’d be protesting too, and I’d demand that the Transport Minister drag me through the sea in an inflatable doughnut to get me wherever I need to go until the ferry was back up and running.

In response, the First Minister said that he recognised the “disruption” that had been caused by the breakdown of the ferry in question.

“We do understand the level – the degree – of disruption that is taking place to the community. We will look at what we can do to support businesses.”

He said he would keep an “open mind” on potential compensation for affected islanders, and said that CalMac are “doing everything in their gift” to ensure that they “bolster the resilience of the network”.

“These endless cancellations are leaving businesses in despair and costing jobs,” replied Douglas Ross.

The exchanges continues in much the same way. Both leaders seemed to agree that it is unacceptable for island communities to be continually let down by the ferry services they should be able to rely on.

If CalMac don’t get a move on, I’ll organise an army of untrained MSPs with hammers and glue guns to tend to the ageing ferry fleet myself.