“It was incredible yesterday, was it not?” the first minister asked, shocked to discover that the Labour leadership contest was descending into internecine warfare. Jackie Baillie, you see, had said disobliging things about Mr Leonard and Mr Leonard’s team said this was just what you’d expect from Ms Baillie.
Quoting from a press release issued by Mr Leonard’s team, the first minister observed it was “just the latest Jackie Baillie . . . ” — here the first minister broke off, choking, unable to continue — “I cannot actually say it, presiding officer.” What filth could she not say?
Readers of a nervous disposition are advised to turn the page now. I am afraid to report the offending word was the Scottish vernacular rendition of micturition. Heavens! This dirt was a word that covers, Ms Sturgeon said, “much of what Jackie Baillie says in the chamber” (and, presumably, elsewhere too).
For not the first time my thoughts drifted to Philip Larkin. With apologies to the poet, it seemed to me that Ms Sturgeon meant to say:
“Talking pish beganYou don't get this kind of intellectual badinage at Westminster. (Probably just as well.)
In twenty seventeen
(which was rather late for thee)
Before the end of the fracking ban
And Runrig’s last LP”.