FIRST Minister’s Questions was again disrupted by a protester shouting from the gallery, an event which seems to have been happening more frequently in recent months.

Business was suspended while the protester was removed and it's unclear what they were protesting about – as protests go, interrupting FMQs is a highly ineffective method of making your point.

The National:

The protest did interrupt Douglas Ross in mid harrumph, and while the Scottish Tory leader and his colleagues are very eager to interrupt the First Minister, Ross really dislikes being interrupted himself. As the protester began shouting, he could clearly be heard saying: "F***'s sake!"

It's probably the most sincere thing that he has ever said in the Scottish Parliament and if the goal of the protest was to get Douglas Ross to show his true character, it was wildly successful.


THE first of the regional hustings for the SNP leadership campaign has been held in Cumbernauld. Whatever you think about the candidates, the hustings was polite, respectful and well-behaved – a very refreshing difference in tone from the bad-tempered interruption-fest that characterises any debate that Douglas F's sake Ross is involved in.

Naturally, the main focus of SNP members in attendance was how the candidates would progress plans for independence if elected. Kate Forbes pledged to set out an independence action plan on day one as First Minister, saying that for far too long the SNP had been the party of referendums instead of the party of independence. She proposed to put independence “front and centre” in the next UK General Election and would aim to hold an independence referendum within three months of that election.

Ash Regan agreed that a clear action plan is needed if Scotland is to move towards independence, saying that she was putting forward the voter empowerment mechanism, which will allow us to move forward with independence when the people of Scotland are ready. She added: "Independence is the immediate priority for Scotland. We can’t afford to wait any longer".

For his part, Humza Yousaf said that if there was a quick route to independence, Nicola Sturgeon would have found it. He said party members must be listened to on how to achieve independence but that any suggestions must be competent in a legal framework. He proposed a series of regional assemblies to discuss how to press the case for independence.


DURING BBC Scotland's Debate Night programme, Scottish Tory MSP Roz McCall was asked by an audience member to outline what benefits have been brought to Scotland from its enforced departure from the European Union. She hummed and hawed a bit, waffled very briefly about knocking on doors for some bizarre reason, before being forced to concede that she had 'difficulty' with it. Don't we all, Roz, don't we all? Still, at least she didn't triumphantly proclaim, "Blue passports!" However, it was not long before her inner Tory reasserted itself and she was insisting that Scotland could not get back into the EU anyway because "we do not meet any of the criteria," then muttered something about GDP.

SNP MP John Nicolson countered that Scotland does indeed meet the criteria. Name them, she retorted … only for John Nicolson to reply that she was the one asserting that Scotland didn't meet the criteria, so she needed to state which criteria Scotland was lacking in.

We got much the same answer from her as we did to the question put to her about the benefits of Brexit.

The argument seems to be that, after 300 years of union, and being dragged out of the EU against its will despite the claims that Scotland is an equal partner in a union of equals, Westminster has so badly managed the Scottish economy that Scotland can't meet the economic criteria in order to get back into the EU. It seems to me that that is an argument for independence, not an argument against it.


IN other Tory difficulties, former health secretary and kangaroo anus eater Matt Hancock is discovering the pitfalls of giving Isabel Oakeshott, the right-wing journalist and partner of far-right Reform party leader Richard Tice, access to all his personal WhatsApp messages so that she could help him write his memoirs, which heralded a new genre of political writing, the auto-hagiography.

According to Matt, his only sin was being too saintly and genius, and his time in office was not characterised by thousands of unnecessary deaths in care homes or dodgy PPI contracts for Tory cronies, but rather by everyone in government being in awe of his brilliance and foresight. Unfortunately, Matt was not possessed of sufficient foresight to think that the woman who embarrassed David Cameron by alleging that he had a sexual encounter with a dead pig's head might be quite willing to embarrass him too.

Matt Hancock is a right-wing, self-serving idiot and Isabel Oakeshott is a right-wing, back-stabbing weasel – choosing between the two is like choosing between chronic haemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome.

Oakeshott has released a slew of personal messages which appear to show that Hancock pushed against advice from England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, to test all people going into care homes for Covid. Hancock insists that the messages Oakeshott has released give only a partial and misleading picture.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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