Are we on course for indyref2?

Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright PA

So is that it, then? Are we definitely set on course for an early rerun of the independence referendum? Up to a point, Lord Copper.

Fans of Evelyn Waugh's fine novel, Scoop, will recall that phrase is a circumlocution. It means, in practice, no. Without being too precise about it.

The reason for this Boot-like vacillation? There is seldom much that is certain about politics. And these Brexit times are particularly redolent of disquiet and imprecision.

These notes frequently comment upon the Lewis Carroll nature of contemporary discourse.

You know, why is a raven like a writing desk? Why is a decision of the Scottish Parliament to refuse consent seen as granting it?

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FMQs: friends forgiven, opponents less so

Nicola Sturgeon

Never let it be said that Nicola Sturgeon is not a forgiving person. There she was in the parliamentary canteen, sharing a cheerful, chatty bite with Noel Dolan.

Surely you remember? Noel Dolan? Her former special adviser, now retired, who generated (slightly) tricky questions for his erstwhile boss by endorsing a second referendum on Brexit.

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Brexit powers row concerns future of devolution

Mike Russell addressing MSPs
Image caption Mike Russell led off the debate at Holyrood

While broadcasting to an astonished nation on the wireless in the middle of the night - OK, it was early morning but it felt nocturnal, despite the zealous dawn - my thoughts turned to literature.

Perhaps rashly, I gave vent to these musings. I forecast that today's legislative consent motion at Holyrood would indeed result in eventual drama - but perhaps of the Pinter/Beckett variety, rather than Shakespeare/Webster.

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FMQs: Willie Rennie's Brexit mischief

Willie Rennie
Image caption Willie Rennie enjoyed sowing a spot of mischief at FMQs

Mischief is wrongly neglected as a potent factor in politics. The true greats have often had a dry, satirical wit. Think of Churchill on Attlee - "a modest man with much to be modest about".

Or Disraeli on his Liberal rival - "If Gladstone fell into the Thames, that would be a misfortune. If anybody pulled him out, that would be a calamity."

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Brexit dance continues during Europe Day celebrations

Stuart McMillan
Image caption MSP Stuart McMillan piped Ode to Joy at the Europe Day rally in Glasgow

Happy Europe Day. Yes, I know, slightly incongruous, in this pre-Brexit period. Nevertheless, European links were marked and celebrated in Glasgow's George Square, with only a faint sense of the surreal.

There were stalls. There were banners. MSP Stuart McMillan played Beethoven's Ode to Joy, the European anthem. On the bagpipes.

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FMQs tumult stilled by individual tragedy

David Ramsay
Image caption Mr Ramsay's family say his death was preventable

The weekly session comprising questions to the first minister is frequently rumbustious and noisy. And none the worse for that: I have little patience with those who expect the tough, combative business of politics to resemble a law faculty moot.

It was rather different today - at least in part. For a few minutes, the customary cumulative conflict was stilled by individual tragedy.

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Scotland's Brexit row in the Lords

House of Lords Image copyright PA
Image caption The House of Lords is currently considering the EU Withdrawal Bill

Democracy in these islands can be a curious concern. Scottish ministers are presently seeking to preserve, as they would see it, the carefully constructed powers of the elected Scottish Parliament.

Their latest attempt to do so relies upon, to varying degrees, the ancient but unelected House of Lords and the Privy Council, the venerable but comparably unelected body of advisers to the sovereign.

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Ruth Davidson's happy news

Jen Wilson and Ruth Davidson Image copyright Ruth Davidson

Ruth Davidson is renowned for many things. One of those is a notably wide smile. It was, I can attest, even broader than usual when she told me this afternoon that she is three months pregnant.

I asked her whether she hoped to be a role model for working mums. With a grin, she said she would rather wait to see whether she was any good at it first.

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Where does the Welsh Brexit deal leave Scotland?

Mike Russell

It was, with caveats to which we shall come shortly, a customarily confident and effective performance by Mike Russell, the Minister for Mitigating Brexit (to give him his decidedly informal title.)

Speaking in Holyrood, he explained his presence there - or rather his absence from talks in London which had been pencilled in the diary in order to finalise negotiations with regard to the return of devolved powers post Brexit.

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Lib Dem conference: Cable's constitutional questions

Vince Cable Image copyright Graham Eva
Image caption Vince Cable will speak at the conference on Saturday afternoon

Vince Cable, we are reliably told, will argue today that the SNP should back the notion of a second EU referendum, on the terms of the deal which will eventually emerge from negotiations.

This pitch will be delivered by Sir Vince at the Aviemore annual conference of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

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